DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities are investigating the cause of a massive fire in a Rohingya refugee camp which has left 12,000 people without shelter.
No casualties have been reported, but the fire on Sunday razed 2,000 shelters after spreading quickly through gas cylinders in kitchens, officials said.
Police are investigating if the fire was an act of sabotage. One man has been detained, local media reported.
The camp in the south-east is believed to be the world’s largest refugee camp.
Most of its more than one million residents, Rohingya refugees, had fled persecution in neighboring Myanmar.
On Monday, hundreds had returned to the Cox’s Bazar area to see what they could salvage from the ruins.
The blaze had started at about 14:45 local time Sunday (08:45 GMT) and quickly tore through the bamboo-and-tarpaulin shelters, an official said.
“Some 2,000 shelters have been burnt, leaving about 12,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals shelterless,” Mijanur Rahman, Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner, told media.
The blaze was brought under control within three hours but at least 35 mosques and 21 learning centres for the refugees were also destroyed, he added.
Photos are now emerging that show the extent of the devastation.
Many of those who lived there can be seen picking through the charred area, where only metal struts and singed corrugated roofing remains.
Hrusikesh Harichandan, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told media there had been “massive damage” to the camp.
He said basic services such as water centres and testing facilities had also been affected.
“My shelter was gutted. (My shop) was also burnt,” Mamun Johar, a 30-year-old Rohingya man, told media. (Int’l News Desk)