A massive fire ripped through a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar on Sunday, leaving around 12,000 people homeless, local Superintendent of Police Mohammad Mahfuzul Islam told CNN.
Sweeping through the Kutupalong refugee camp in the afternoon, the blaze gutted around 2,000 huts before it was brought under control, Islam said.
No casualties have been reported so far, he said, adding that the cause of the fire is not yet determined but an investigation is under way.
Authorities are working with international and local humanitarian organizations to provide food and temporary shelters to those who have lost homes, he added.
“We will ensure no one sleeps under the open sky. Everyone will get a temporary shelter,” Islam said, with community centers and mosques providing housing to those affected by the fire.
Ninety facilities including hospitals and learning centers were burnt down, the Bangladesh branch of the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR tweeted on Sunday.
“Rohingya refugee volunteers trained on firefighting & local fire services have controlled the fire,” it added in another tweet.
Humanitarian organization Save the Children said Sunday’s fire was a “ghastly reminder that children stuck in the camps in Cox’s Bazar face a bleak future.”
“Today’s massive fire will have robbed many families of their safety and what little belongings they have left,” it said in a statement, adding “they continue to grapple with inadequate education, concerning levels of malnutrition, stunting, child marriage, and child labor.”
The UN’s International Organization of Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh said on social media that “they are assessing the needs of people to provide support.”
Sunday’s blaze marks one of the largest of several fires that have plagued the camp in recent years.
An estimated 1 million members of the stateless Muslim minority Rohingya live in what many consider to be among the world’s largest refugee camps after fleeing a brutal campaign of killing and arson by the Myanmar military.