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IOM Bangladesh Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis Response - Monthly Situation Report (January 2022)

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IOM OFFERS CRITICAL SERVICES FOR AFFECTED PEOPLE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK FIRES IN A WEEK

At the start of 2022, Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camps experienced back-to-back fire incidents in the space of a week. A fire broke out at the IOM-run Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Center (SARI ITC) in Camp 20 Extension on the evening of January 2, causing significant damage. On the afternoon of January 9, a blaze engulfed Camp 16. The resultant damage to property impacted more than 1,700 refugees and members of the host community.

In response to the fire in Camp 20 Extension, IOM teams - along with Disaster Management Units (DMU) composed of trained Rohingya volunteers - supported the Fire Brigade in dousing the flames. They managed to prevent the re from spreading to other sections of the SARI ITC. Within 36 hours of the fire’s onset, IOM resumed medical services although the reconstruction of the burnt-out areas is urgently needed.

IOM also acted swiftly when the second fire, in Camp 16, was reported. Response teams were mobilized to protect refugees and to bring the situation back under control. This was done in coordination with the local authorities and the Fire Brigade. IOM’s SMSD partner, CARE, mobilized its teams and DMU volunteers to quell the blaze.

Further support by IOM came in the form of emergency non-food items and WASH items packages to 492 families. Families with fully burnt shelters were supported either with tents (152 families) or the installation of emergency shelters (201 families). Forty families with partially burnt out shelters were assisted with emergency shelter materials which were immediately put to use. Emergency shelter support was also provided to nine families from the host community living inside the affected area. A total of 396 affected families received Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and cooking sets support during the first response.

More than 1,000 Cash-for-Work labour days were deployed by IOM’s partner, CARE, for the purpose of removing debris from the affected sites. IOM also dispatched a Mobile Medical Team to provide treatment for any potential injuries, along with psychological first aid and referrals to health facilities.

The outbreak of fire remains a major risk in the dry season. In March 2021, a massive fire broke out in Camp 9, resulting in the loss of several lives, along with the displacement of 45,000 people, while the camp suffered catastrophic damage.