For the sixth and seventh time this year, two fires have swept through the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. Destroying 400 homes and leaving thousands without shelter. The recent fire in Kutupalong has also taken three young lives, who are as yet unidentified.
UPDATE JUNE 2022: CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY TO REBUILD CLASSROOMS DESTROYED IN THE FIRES
The fires in March destroyed four of our learning centres which are now being rebuilt. Construction is underway and the builders are making good progress. The children are currently learning inside temporary structures and will move into their new classrooms very soon.
On Friday 11th March, a second fire in the space of a week also broke out in camp 4, destroying a fourth Learning Centre and around eight homes. This was the seventh fire this year. Staff in the camp told us that thankfully there were no casualties
With closely packed shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulin, the whole area is highly flammable. Programme Manager in Cox’s Bazar, Sudeb Rudra said, “Having repeated fires time and time again is not a good sign, authorities should take protective action. As summer comes and the weather heats up, there will only be more harm done”.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Rebeka Khatun spoke to us directly from the camp saying “The teachers are devastated as they had been working with the children over the last few months to renovate and decorate the Learning Centres ready for reopening after the latest Covid related closures. All their work is in ashes and even children’s bags destroyed”.
Children on the Edge supports 75 Learning Centres in the camp, so in the immediate days after the fire several of our other schools adjusted their schedules to accommodate the affected students.
Thanks to help from Save the Children, a week after the fire, some temporary tents were set up for the children to continue their learning while the Learning Centres are rebuilt. An engineer has visited the sites of the centres so reconstruction can begin soon.