by Staff Correspondent,
Dhaka– The authorities have launched an investigation into the fire that burnt some 2,000 makeshift shelters in the crowded Rohingya refugee camp in the south-eastern Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar, officials said on Monday.
The investigators will look into whether it was an act of sabotage or just an accident, chief of the local administration in Ukhiya sub-district Emran Hossain sajib told newsnextbd.com by phone.
“We are not yet sure what actually caused the fire,” said sajib adding that the Sunday’s blaze at the camp made an estimated 12,000 Rohingya refugees homeless.
The fire originated at Balukhali Camp No 11 and spread quickly to the adjoining camps 10 and 13 in Ukhiya sub-district, he said adding some 30 shops outside the camp were also devastated.
The seven-strong panel of investigators was asked to report back in three days, said Mizanur Rahman, the head of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission.
Incidents of fire are frequent in the crowded camps where the refugee homes are made mainly of bamboo and tarpaulins.
Fire Service and Civil Defence department has reported as many as 165 incidents of fire inside the camp in the last four years until 2021. Among those, a massive fire at the camp killed 15 people and injured hundreds others in March 2021.
More than 1 million Rohingya Muslims are living in sprawling camps in the south-eastern Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar after they fled persecution in the neighbouring Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Some 750,000 of them crossed the border in 2017 in the face of Myanmar’s military offensive against the ethnic group.