Caritas Australia is supporting Church and non-government organisations in Bangladesh, after a massive fire swept through a Rohingya refugee camp on Monday, destroying shelters, health centres and other facilities.
Caritas Bangladesh reports that nearly 6,000 shelters have been destroyed in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, leaving approximately 9,000 households without a place to live.
It was the third blaze to hit the camp in four days. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but is believed to have been spread by exploding gas cylinders used for cooking in the shelters.
Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees live in cramped conditions in Cox’s Bazar after fleeing conflict in Rakhine state in Myanmar in 2017, making it the largest refugee camp in the world.
Bernice Sarpong, Caritas Australia’s Humanitarian Program Coordinator for Asia said: “Fires like this are unfortunately common in the overcrowded camps, but they have a serious impact on already vulnerable families who have been struggling to cope with the combined impacts of displacement, poverty and the pandemic.
“The damage to health centres is especially worrying, as addressing health issues in the camps is already complex, and with the damage to health centres, this will only become more challenging.
“Our local partner, Caritas Bangladesh, is working with local emergency services and assessing the damage that has been done to infrastructure and shelters so that we can respond as effectively as possible.”
Caritas Australia is accepting donations to help support vulnerable communities in Asia through the Asia Emergency Appeal. Details: caritas.org.au.