More than 50,000 refugees have been displaced because of the massive fire that spread across four refugee camps on March 22nd, 2021. The blazing fire caused at least 11 deaths reported to date. Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for according to UNICEF. The fire consumed the makeshift tents within minutes which left tens of thousands of people homeless in Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar.
A spokesperson of the U.N High Commissioner for Refugees said that at least 560 people have been injured by the fire and thousands are displaced. The fire took place in the late afternoon which gave the refugees a head start and they could evacuate the camp as soon as they spotted the fumes.
The fire had consumed numerous health clinics, community centers, mosques and, an IRC safe place for women. The newly installed barbed wire fencing prevented the refugees from fleeing the engulfing fire that was consuming their homes.
The UNICEF teams are on the field attending to the needs of the families who have been the victim of the fire. They have reported that the water and sanitation facility has been contaminated and suffered severe damage. They have partnered up with other organizations to deliver water and hygiene supplies. Their medical teams are providing emergency aid to people who are injured and have suffered burns.
The volunteers are trying to reunite displaced children with their families along with ensuring their safety and protection. They have set up child-friendly camps to give psychological support to anyone who needs it.
The cause of the fire remains unknown but the local authorities are trying their best to bring the situation under control. The fire brigade along with the Bangladesh army rushed to the location to put out the fire immediately afterward.
Even though immediate relief is being provided to the refugees, UNICEF urges international communities to donate funds for the refugee’s long-term needs. Without the help of the government or international organizations, pulling them out of this disaster would be impossible.