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Bangladesh: Situation Report Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) - Sitkunda Fire, 2022 (Date: June 8, 2022)

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Devastating fire broke out in the Sitakunda Upazila of Chattogram District at Jun 4, 2022 Saturday (around 10.00 PM) (source-BBC). There were reportedly containers with chemicals in the depo, including a huge quantity of hydrogen peroxide – an oxidizing chemical – which can intensify fire as well consequence to be major fire hazard when combined with other chemicals and substances and this is what happened in sitakunda. The Sitakunda blaze is the biggest disaster in the 24-year history of the container depot industry in Chattogram, and the first likely caused by chemicals. Unfortunately, such disasters are becoming quite common in Bangladesh. The poor infrastructure and institutional preparedness for industrial safety – which the ILO called "nascent" earlier this year – makes such fire incidents almost inevitable. Ultimately, it is the workers employed in these hazardous places who have to pay the high price for that. (source: The Daily Star May 8, 2022)

Impact Highlights:

• At least 49 people died (among them, 8 were firefighters) and more than 300 people were injured, many of whom sustained life-threatening burns, and many bodies remain unrecovered as the fire continued to blaze for a second night in the Sitakunda. (source: The Guardian, June 5 2022). According to Daily disaster situation report by NDRCC, MODMR (June 7, 2022), about 41 people died due to this fire and about 24 dead body have been identified till date and around 98 injured people are admitted in the several hospital of Chattogram.

• The estimated primary financial loss caused by the deadly container depot fire in Chattogram's Sitakunda may stretch over $110 million, according to Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA). Reportedly, over 800 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) of containers loaded with export items - mainly RMG products and frozen foods – around 500 imported goods-laden containers and 3000 empty containers went down in flames on the Saturday night fire. (Source: Tbsnews, June 8 2022).

Response:

• Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) have allocated BDT 1 crore and 1000 packet dry food packet for affected people. Besides, MoDMR distributed BDT 525,000 to the family of dead people where as BDT 75,000 to injured people for treatment purposes. (source- Daily disaster situation report by NDRCC, MODMR (June 7, 2022 )

• The privately-owned Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture shipping facility has promised compensation of 1 million taka ($11,000) to the family of each worker killed in the fire. (source-Reuters, June 6 2022)

• Bangladesh Red Crescent Society BDRCS’s teams are on the ground for helping fire fighters and providing critical first aid, Restoring Family Link (RFL), and health support to the wounded. More than 200 BDRCS’s volunteers are working in the incident places and different hospital in Chattogram.

Potential Impact:

This fire caused such high temperature that it formed a small microclimatic environment. Because the temperature in the region has risen, people even 10km away from the accident site may detect a foul chemical stench and have burning sensation on their eyes. People living a few km away from the accident site felt the tremors of the explosion. (source: The Daily Star May 8, 2022)