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Bangladesh: Industrial accident: depot fire in Sitakunda

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Bangladesh
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ACAPS
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CRISIS IMPACT OVERVIEW

• Fire broke out at a container facility on the night of 4 June 2022 at Sonaichari union, Sitakunda upazila, 40km from the port city of Chattogram (formerly Chittagong). The fire triggered multiple explosions, killing at least 41 people, including 12 firefighters, and injuring at least 300 others (DT 06/06/2022 a; Prothom Alo 05/06/2022 a and 06/06/2022 a; Al Jazeera 05/06/2022 a; NDTV 05/06/2022).

• Explosions shattered window glasses in nearby buildings (Reuters 05/06/2022; Al Jazeera 05/06/2022 b). Tremors from the explosion reached people living within a 4–5km radius of the accident site. As per reports, toxic fumes covered the accident site and made several firefighters ill. Villagers living in the neighbourhood of the depot reported burning eyes (The Daily Star 05/06/2022 a).

• As at 7 June morning, the fire was still burning intermittently in 28 containers. Some containers were known to contain chemicals, but it remained unclear which of the containers these were, making operations dangerous (Prothom Alo 06/06/2022 b).

• The fire department confirmed the presence of a large volume of hydrogen peroxide at the depot (Prothom Alo 06/06/2022 c and 06/06/2022 d; TBS 05/06/2022 a; The Daily Star 05/06/2022 a). As per media reports, the hydrogen peroxide was stored under a tin shed (TBS 05/06/2022 a). Hydrogen peroxide is not combustible but can trigger or support combustion. It can also cause spontaneous combustion when it comes in contact with organic material (NLM accessed 06/06/2022). Authorities have confirmed the presence of more chemicals close to the fire site (Container News 07/06/2022).

• No rapid needs assessment has yet been published, and the number of people in need remains unclear. There are reports of people leaving neighbouring villages (Prothom Alo 06/06/2022 e).