A fire swept through a Rohingya refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday, destroying hundreds of homes, according to officials and witnesses, though there were no immediate reports of casualties.
The blaze hit Camp 16 in Cox’s Bazar, a border district where than a million Rohingya refugees live, with most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.
Mohammed Shamsud Douza, a Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said emergency workers had brought the fire under control. The cause of the blaze has not been established, he added.
“Everything is gone. Many are without homes,” said Abu Taher, a Rohingya refugee.
Another blaze tore through a Covid-19 treatment center for refugees in another refugee camp in the district last Sunday, causing no casualties.
A devastating fire last March swept through the world’s biggest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar, killing at least 15 refugees and burned down more than 10,000 shanties.
Estimates of the number of Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar range from 800,000 to more than 900,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children.
Most of the refugees have fled from persecution in neighboring Myanmar.
In 2016 and 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a brutal campaign of killing and arson that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya minority people to flee into neighboring Bangladesh, prompting a genocide case to be heard at the International Court of Justice. In 2019, the United Nations said “grave human rights abuses” by the military were still continuing in the ethnic states of Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Kachin and Karen.
Myanmar denies the genocide accusations, and maintains the “clearance operations” by the military were legitimate counter-terrorism measures.
CNN’s Bex Wright contributed to this report.