Fire devastates enormous Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

More than 400 people are missing and 15 confirmed dead after a fire at the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. An estimated 45,122 people have been affected — mostly all Rohingya, who fled Myanmar from ethnic cleansing in 2017.

Many are seeking shelter in nearby camps, friends or families’ shelters, and learning centers, according to the World Food Programme, which told the press some of its food centers were burnt to the ground.

This is heart-wrenching news given Rohingya refugees’ long history of persecution and the stressful conditions they have endured since their most recent exodus. While in Bangladesh, the Rohingya have faced poverty, lethal floods, coerced relocation to a dangerous island, a cell phone ban, and coronavirus.

FBB is regrettably not presently situated to launch a Humanist Disaster Recovery response to this emergency. However, we urge supporters who are moved to donate to give to our past Humanist Disaster Recovery partner in the Rohingya camps, ActionAid USA.

The organization’s local arm, ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB), has already distributed 1,200 liters of drinking water to displaced families, and has opened community centers to be used as shelters for displaced people.

Trained AAB volunteers are now engaged in Emergency Response works in the sectors of Food, Shelter and Health, and each Bangladesh camp has a contingency plan and volunteers in place.

AAB is a major protection actor in numerous camps, ensuring the safety and security of women and girls. They help create Women Friendly Spaces as well as men and boys centers, which are currently operational in camps to provide protection services.

Some children have become detached from their parents. AAB has helped to unite 10 children with their families.

The organization has also informed us that they have pre-positioned 3,900 Dignity Kits and are distributing them at the writing of this post, March 24th 2021.

ActionAid has been previously vetted by Foundation Beyond Belief for secularism, efficacy, and data-driven approaches to helping the most vulnerable residents of the camps.

Donate on ActionAid USA’s website here.

Photos: Ro Yassin Abdumonab