Massive fire at Ukhiya Rohingya camp guts at least 300 houses

Prothom Alo

A massive fire at Balukhali Rohingya camp No-11 in Ukhia upazila has gutted over 300 houses on Sunday afternoon. The fire suspected to originate from a kitchen at D-15 block in the camp at around 2:45pm quickly spread in neighbouring houses.

Law enforcers, volunteers of non-government organisations and four units of fire fighters are working on extinguishing the fire. Police and witnesses said the blaze could not be brought under control as of 4:30pm.

Syed Ullah, a resident of D-15 block told Prothom Alo that at least 50 thousand Rohingyas, mostly women and children, live in the camp.

He said the residents of the camps have scrambled to take shelter in safe places after the massive fire broke out. Syed Ullah said he has taken his family members to a nearby hill.

Officer in charge of Ukhiya police station Sheikh Mohammad Ali said a coordinated drive is being conducted to extinguish the fire.

Ukhiya fire service station’s in charge Emdadul Haque said it was primarily suspected that the fire broke out from a chimney at a kitchen in D-15 block.

Several local Rohingya leaders said they suspect the fire might be an act of sabotage as a rumour has been circulated about a possible incident of fire in the camp lately.

Rohingya leader Kamal Hossain said Arakan Salvation Army (ARSA) and Arakan Soliderity Organisation (RSO) have been at loggerheads recently over control of drug smuggling and establishing supremacy. They locked into gunfight and clashes on several occasions leaving some Rohingyas injured. This enmity might prompt the fire, suspect the Rohingya leaders.