In the early hours of 14 January 2020, a devastating fire broke out in Nayapara Registered Refugee Camp in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar. Over 3,492 persons lost their homes and belongings, as the fire completely gutted 600 shelters (including two belonging to Bangladeshi families in the host community), 150 shops and an NGO facility.
An additional 54 shelters were dismantled to stop the fire.
The local fire department was at the scene and able to control and contain the fire within two hours. The Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), the Camp-in-Charge (CiC) of Nayapara Registered Camp, and law enforcement authorities also quickly mobilized to support the response in the area.Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries were reported, and the few people with minor injuries have been released after treatment.
In addition to the investigation put in place by the security agencies, the RRRC has formed a committee made up of engineering staff, camp administration and UNHCR to determine the cause of the fire. In its preliminary stage, the investigation has concluded that the fire started in an individual family shelter and quickly spread throughout the block due to the highly flammable nature of the construction materials used in the camps, where many of the shelters have been in place since the 1990s. The cause of the fire is unknown with the investigation ongoing.