DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A fire on Tuesday raced through a crowded camp housing Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, destroying nearly 400 shanties and shops, a Bangladeshi official and the U.N.’s refugee agency said.
No casualties were immediately reported, the refugee agency said in a Facebook post.
The agency, known as the UNHCR, said the fire broke out at the Lambashia camp in Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar district on Tuesday morning.
More than 1 million refugees live in the district bordering Myanmar, from where the refugees crossed the border into Bangladesh.
Mohammad Nikaruzzman Chowdhury, the area’s chief government official, said firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze in an hour.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, but local media said it may have been caused by an explosion of a gas cylinder kept in a shop in the area.
The UNHCR said it mobilized emergency response teams to provide the refugees with food and other items.
Most of the refugees fled their homes in Myanmar after its military launched a harsh crackdown in response to an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group in 2017. Myanmar’s security forces have been accused of committing mass rapes, killings and burning thousands of homes in the crackdown.
The Muslim Rohingya are not recognized as citizens in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, rendering them stateless, and also face other forms of state-sanctioned discrimination