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Emergency response to the fire in Kutupalong Balukhali refugee camps on 22 March 2021 - Update 6 April 2021

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It has been two weeks since the devastating fire in Kutupalong Balukhali refugee camps (Camps 8E, 8W and 9) that left 48,300 individuals without shelter. According to findings from the Inter Sector Coordination Group’s (ISCG) Rapid Joint Needs Assessment, the fire impacted 92,000* individuals. It also destroyed over 1,600 facilities including hospitals, distribution points, learning centres, and a UNHCR registration centre. UNHCR continues to respond to the needs of the affected population under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh and the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), working closely with IOM and other partner UN agencies, and NGOs.

Refugee volunteers remain the backbone of the response. From the onset of the fire, hundreds of volunteers mobilised to extinguish the fire, create fire breaks, take vulnerable individuals to safety, and find separated children. Over 300 UNHCR-supported refugee volunteers continue to actively support refugees in the fire affected camps as well as in other camps where refugees are taking shelter. For example, by accompanying affected refugees to health care facilities, assisting in building temporary shelters, clearing debris, and identifying and referring refugees with specific needs to relevant service providers. Volunteers including Community Outreach Members, Community Groups, Protection Emergency Response Unit (PERU) members, and refugee leaders are conducting awareness raising sessions on child protection risks such as child-trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV), fire safety and general assistance. They are also supporting refugees by providing shelter in their own shelters to displaced families and making hot meals for those in need.