At least three Rohingya refugees were killed and seven shops were gutted when a fire broke out early Friday in a market at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar, in the second such incident in the past 10 days, according to official sources.
“We have recovered three bodies from inside the gutted shops,” Md Abdullah, deputy assistant director of Cox’s Bazar Fire Service and Civil Defense, told Anadolu Agency.
The fire reportedly occurred around 3:30 a.m. local time (GMT2130) and was brought under control within an hour by members of the local fire service and Rohingya residents.
The identities of the dead are still unknown, while authorities are currently investigating the incident.
“We have already handed over the bodies to the police to proceed with the autopsies,” said Abdullah, adding all three of the deceased are male and have been primarily identified as workers at the shops.
He said the authorities are now very alert after the last massive fire in the camps so that in case one breaks out, they can promptly control the spread of the blaze.
A deadly fire on March 22 gutted more than 10,000 tents in the world’s largest refugee settlement, located in Bangladesh, leaving at least 15 people dead and more than 550 injured, according to a UN report.
At least 45,000 Rohingya were also internally displaced following the fire, which also destroyed shops, learning centers, a Turkish hospital, health clinics and other official settlements.
More than 1.2 million Rohingya who mostly fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in August 2017 are currently living in the crammed makeshift camps in Bangladesh which pose a fire risk as many of them are using gas cylinders for cooking.
In some previous fire incidents in Rohingya camps, gas cylinders were reportedly deemed one of the main causes for the blazes and their rapid spread.
In the last month, fires rapidly spread due to the explosion of gas cylinders one after another, according to eyewitnesses, who also claimed that Rohingya are not familiar with using gas cylinders.
Bangladeshi authorities as well as aid agencies helped Rohingya obtain gas facilities to save the nearby forest area as Rohingya had been using a lot of wood for cooking, posing a threat to the ecological balance of the tourist hub region.
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