Within two hours the flames destroyed 1,200 shelters in one of the world's biggest settlements
A massive fire has devastated a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, leaving thousands of people homeless, police have said.
"About 1,200 houses were burnt in the fire," a spokesman for the Armed Police Battalion, Kamran Hossain, told AFP on Sunday.
The fire started at 4.40pm local time and was brought under control at around 6.30pm, the law enforcement officer said - but the two hours was enough to leave more than 5,000 people homeless as most of the shelters were made of bamboo and tarpaulin, highly flammable materials.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Bangladesh said that, after receiving news of a "sudden fire" at Camp 16 in the Cox's Bazar border district, it "immediately deployed teams," including medics, to protect the refugees.The cause of the fire is yet to be established.
It is not the first time that fires have ripped through camps housing the minority Muslim ethnic group, many of whom escaped neighboring Myanmar to avoid persecution in the wake of the 2017 military crackdown, which left some 10,000 Rohingya dead, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In March last year, another fire claimed the lives of 15 refugees and left 50,000 homeless in Bangladesh border camps which house around 850,000 people and are considered to be one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.