Statement by Mr Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh, on the fire in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
DHAKA, 10 January 2022 – “UNICEF is deeply grieved and stands in support of the thousands of Rohingya refugees affected by the fire that broke out in the refugee camps on 9 January in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
“The fire that swept across Camp 16 burnt down 300 shelters and damaged another 500. The host community near the camp was affected as well. Two UNICEF-supported learning centres for Rohingya refugee children and almost 200 WASH facilities were damaged.
“There has been no report of casualties and those displaced by the fire have taken shelter in adjacent camps. Seven children who were injured in the incident are being provided with the necessary medical assistance.
“UNICEF and partner organizations have been working on the ground since Sunday evening to ensure the immediate and urgent needs of children and families. This includes food, water, sanitation, clothing and shelter materials for affected families who have lost their belongings in the fire.
"Our concern now is to ensure the safety, security and protection of children who have been displaced from the shelters due to the fire and avoid other potential risks at this time of crisis.
“UNICEF and its partners are committed to ensuring that children are protected from health risks and injuries, and provided the necessary psychosocial support. We have started setting up child help desks in the affected area, and two unaccompanied children who were separated were reunited with their families through our efforts.
“We also remain vigilant to prevent further risks for children in the area, child labour for collection of debris and construction efforts.
“The destroyed learning centres and learning materials were crucial for providing access to safe learning to Rohingya refugee children. All-out efforts are underway from partners to ensure that the centres can be resumed as early as possible.
“UNICEF also started repairing damaged tube wells, latrines, bathing spaces and tap-stands in affected areas.
"We thank the local authorities, front-line responders and all partners whose tireless work brought the fire under control.”
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