Fire Rips Through Rohingya Refugee Camp in India, Leaving Hundreds of People Homeless

FILE PHOTO: Fire is seen at Balukhali Refugee Camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 22, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. MD JAMAL PHOTOGRAPHY/via REUTERS

A massive fire has destroyed a Rohingya refugee camp in the Indian capital, New Delhi, leaving hundreds of people homeless.

The blaze broke out at about 11:30pm on Saturday and quickly spread through the camp, reducing 55 ramshackle shelters to ashes in the Madanpur Khadar area in the capital city’s south. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the fire – the second time the camp has been reduced to ashes since 2018.

The fire service department of the national capital said that it put 15 fire tenders into service and brought the blaze under control in about six hours. “We rushed to the spot quickly and started dousing the flames,” Sandeep, an operator at the Delhi Fire Service, told Al Jazeera by telephone on Sunday.

The fire tore through the camp, home to 55 families – filling the sky with plumes of smoke and flames as refugees scrambled to safety, crying for help.

Sufia Khatoon, 32, was asleep inside her hut along with her physically challenged mother and her child when the fire broke out. It started in an abandoned hut, she said.

“When we saw the fire, I held my mother’s hand and lifted my child in my arms and ran away to safety outside the camp,” Khatoon said. “We lost everything. The fire destroyed even the little cash that we had kept for our daily needs. We don’t have a single [Indian] rupee to buy water.”

She appealed to the government and relief groups for help with food and shelter.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera, Zafar Aafaq

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