UNHCR is deeply saddened at the loss of life and immense suffering caused by a massive fire in the Kutupalong Balukali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on Monday 22 March.

Latest reports confirm 15 refugees have tragically lost their lives in the fire. More than 560 have been injured and an estimated 400 people are still missing.

In support of the ongoing response led by the Bangladeshi authorities, UNHCR, in coordination with other humanitarian aid agencies and refugee volunteers, is rushing to provide critical support and protection to some 45,000 Rohingya refugees who lost their shelters and belongings in the devastating blaze.




At least 10,000 shelters are estimated to have been destroyed or damaged, but figures are expected to climb in the coming days as assessments continue. Refugees who have been displaced are being temporarily accommodated within the camp community.

@UNHCR/Louise Donovan

@UNHCR/Louise Donovan

UNHCR has provided medical supplies to help refugees with burn injuries. Emergency first aid including psychosocial support is also being provided. Health volunteers from the refugee community are helping to refer those in need of critical support services.

Rohingya refugees remain at the centre of the response and have been mobilised since the fire was brought under control overnight. UNHCR is preparing to reissue registration documents to those who lost theirs in the fire.

So far, UNHCR has provided some 3,000 blankets, 14,500 solar lamps, 10,400 kitchen sets and 11,500 mosquito nets. UNHCR has also made available emergency water and sanitation assistance, including construction of 20 emergency latrines, emergency tap stands, water tanks, jerry cans and water purification tablets. Four water tankers are delivering safe water to refugees in areas unaffected by the fires.

Using UNHCR’s Interactive Voice Response system, teams will be able to call approximately 70 per cent of households in the most affected camps. UNHCR teams are monitoring the safety and security of temporary shelters for those displaced, and ensuring assistance meets the critical needs including for unaccompanied and separated children.

Camps at Cox’s Bazar currently shelter over 870,000 Rohingya refugees. The vast majority, some 720,000, arrived in 2017, fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Australian donors have responded generously to the Rohingya emergency, committing a total of over $7 million. The effects of Monday’s lethal and destructive blaze, however, will only exacerbate critical needs and further strain already overstretched resources. Please donate today to support Rohingya refugees.







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