Rohingya campfire leaves hundreds homeless

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Ms. Khatoon, 34, fled Rakhine State in 2017 and gave birth to her second child in the camp. She said she had turned her small hut into a home for her family. Now, she said, she and her family had no food and nowhere to go.

More than 750,000 Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since a campaign of murder, rape and arson began against them in 2017. The area near Cox’s Bazar in the south of Bangladesh, has become a makeshift home for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing the campaign of violence by the Burmese military. The Rohingya have been relentlessly persecuted by the government and crowds of Buddhists, who constitute the majority in Myanmar.

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The settlements turned into mega camps as the huge influx of desperate people fleeing conflict or persecution continued to flow. Onno van Manen, national director of Save the Children in Bangladesh, said the blaze was another devastating blow to displaced Rohingya Muslims. .

Mr Manen said that since 2017 more than a million refugees, half of whom are children, have lived in cramped camps with little freedom of movement, insufficient access to education and abuse, including child marriage.

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“Simply put, despite the relentless efforts of humanitarian communities, a refugee camp is not a place to grow up a child,” he said.

In May last year, a similar fire burned down more than 400 shelters in the nearby Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. And with a growing population and new shelters built over time, officials say it has become increasingly difficult for firefighters to navigate the slums.

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Bangladeshi authorities say they are trying to reduce the population in some camps, with a plan to move 100,000 people to an island in the Bay of Bengal. Rights groups criticized the plan, saying the Rohingya were again forcibly displaced.

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