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Emergency response to the fire in Kutupalong Balukhali refugee camps on 22 March 2021 - Update 28 March 2021

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Overview On the afternoon of 22 March 2021, a devastating fire broke out in Kutupalong Balukhali refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. It lasted until the early hours of 23 March. The fire has left approximately 48,000 refugees displaced, destroyed over 9,500 shelters as well as over 1,600 facilities including hospitals, distribution points, learning centres, and a UNHCR registration centre. The fire started in Camp 8W, and within a short period spread to Camps 8E, 9 and 10, all of which are IOM-managed camps. Many refugees living in adjacent camps evacuated their shelters temporarily, while many more fled to neighbouring camps seeking safety. Refugee and members of the host community were the first responders, the local fire department arrived shortly after and the fire was contained in the early hours of the morning. The Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) and law enforcement authorities also quickly mobilized to support the response in the area.