A huge fire swept through Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh on Monday, destroying thousands of homes, officials and witnesses said.
Video shot by a resident showed a blaze ripping through the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, with people scrambling to recover their possessions amid burning shanties and tents.
“Fire services, rescue and response teams and volunteers are at the scene to try to control the fire and prevent it spreading further,” said Louise Donovan, spokesperson for U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar, where refugees live in ramshackle huts.
Rohingya refugees in the camps said many homes were burned down and several people had died, but neither the authorities nor UNHCR confirmed there were any deaths.
More than a million Rohingya live in the mainland camps in southern Bangladesh, the vast majority having fled Myanmar in 2017 from a military-led crackdown that U.N investigators said was executed with “genocidal intent”, charges Myanmar denies.