Fire engulfs overcrowded Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

AP | , Posted by Lingamagunta Nirmitha Rao

A massive fire ripped through an overcrowded refugee camp for Rohingya Muslims in southern Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving thousands homeless, a fire official and the United Nations said.

Imdadul Haq, a fire service official, said there were no immediate reports of casualties at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar district.

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UNHCR in Bangladesh said in a tweet that Rohingya refugee volunteers were responding to the fire, with the agency and its partners providing assistance. It gave no further details.

More than one million Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh over several decades, including some 740,000 who crossed the border in August 2017, when Myanmar’s military launched a brutal crackdown.

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Things have worsened in Myanmar since a military takeover in 2021 and efforts to repatriate refugees have failed.

Last year, the United States said the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar amounted to genocide after US officials confirmed mass atrocities against civilians by the military in a systematic campaign against the ethnic minority. Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and many other rights.

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