Fire guts hundreds of shelters in Rohingya refugee camp

Fire guts hundreds of shelters in Rohingya refugee camp

Cox's Bazar (Bangladesh): A devastating fire raced through a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Monday, destroying hundreds of shelters and leaving thousands homeless, officials and witnesses said.

The fire at Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazar district broke out in the late afternoon and spread quickly through at least four blocks, said Mohammad Shamsud Douza, additional commissioner of the government's Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission.

He said at least four units of firefighters were struggling to control the blaze due to its rapid spread.

Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, said in an email that fire services, rescue and response teams and volunteers were at the scene.

"So far the fire has affected shelters, health centers, distribution points and other facilities. Volunteers are supporting those affected," she said.

No casualties were immediately reported, but deaths and injuries were feared. No details on the missing could be confirmed.

Two Rohingya refugees told The Associated Press at the scene that the fire had spread very quickly and continued to rage into the night Monday.

Several videos posted on social media showed clouds of smoke billowing from the camp.

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