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Bangladesh: Cox’s Bazar Camp Settlement Fire - Mar 2021

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On 22 March 2021, a massive fire swept through the camp settlement in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, destroying shelters and facilities and endangering lives across four camps. So far, 11 casualties have been reported, and 55,000 people have been displaced. According to data shared by the camp authority, a total of 563 people from the affected camps have been injured and 339 are missing. It is understood that there are approximately 10,000 damaged shelters...According to the Flash Update issued by the ISCG Secretariat, among the essential facilities impacted by the fire are the IOM primary healthcare clinic, MSF clinic, Turkish hospital and LPG distribution points. No BDRCS facility or infrastructure has been affected as a relatively small amount of programming is undertaken in the affected areas. While there has been a history of several fires in the camp settlement in past times including two incidents in January this year, the intensity and scale of this latest fire is unprecedented. Cramped conditions in the severely congested settlement are believed to have contributed to the quick escalation of the fire. (IFRC, 27 Mar 2021)

Following the massive fire, and a joint needs assessment conducted, it was ascertained that 10,100 households are without shelters and 48,300 persons were directly affected by the fire. Currently there are 15,000 persons from fire affected camps residing outside of their camps of origin, and at least 30,000 individuals have returned to their origin camps following the distributions of shelter kits. A build-back-safer strategy has been prepared to redevelop the camps affected by the fires, addressing key issues such as fire breaks and access, rationalizing of facilities, preventing the risk of landslides and slope stabilisation, and shelter reconstruction. (ISCG, 31 Mar 2021)

As of 6 April, more than 61,000 people were affected, of which at least 2,000 received emergency medical support. There are more than 12,000 shelters damaged and approximately 67,000 litres of drinking water has been provided. (BRAC, 6 Apr 2021)