• A massive fire broke out in Kutupalong Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar,
Bangladesh on 22 March 2021
• Reports confirm 13 deaths, 563 injured and around 400 people are still missing. These figures are expected to increase.
• The fire destroyed and damaged about 12,000 shelters and other facilities including at least one hospital and a number of health centers
• Healthcare facilities not directly impacted by the fire are experiencing a large surge of patients seeking access to medical services
• Project HOPE is mobilizing resources and personnel from the Southeast Asia Emergency Response Hub for response and provision of assistance.
A massive fire broke out in Kutupalong Balukhali, the world’s largest refugee camps, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on the 22 March 2021 and lasted until the early hours of the following day. The densely populated camps in Cox’s Bazar house approximately 877,710 Rohingya refugees, many of whom fled violence in northern Myanmar starting in August 2017.
The fire destroyed and damaged over 12,000 shelters made of highly flammable bamboo and tarpaulin. More than 61,000 Rohingya refugees and host community were affected by the fire. Early reports state that 13 people have died, 563 were injured, and 400 remain missing, including children. 50,000 people are reported to be displaced.
Project HOPE and partners are bracing for a large surge in patients in undamaged clinics. One clinic reports an estimated 3-4 times the patient load is expected over the next several months. The destroyed health facilities will take months to rebuild, and housed much of the primary, secondary, and clinical lab services for the affected population. Undamaged clinics are in desperate need of medicines and medical supplies to serve the influx of new patients, as well as additional equipment to temporarily enhance the types of procedures in the absence of the destroyed hospitals. For example, many of the remaining clinics do not have exam tables or other advanced equipment that patients will now need since referral pathways have been disrupted.
Initial assessment data shows damages to WASH facilities, community centers, learning centers, child friendly spaces, mosques, service centers, shops, hospitals and health centers. The affected population is in high need for shelter, food, clean water, health, protection, child protection, and psycho-social support. There is also a growing need for clothes, kitchen utensils, and material to help in the reconstruction of shelters. Increased cases of diarrhea were observed due to the high temperature, increased humidity, and damaged WASH facilities.
Key concerns also include the health, safety and protection of women, pregnant women, new mothers, and children. It is critical to ensure the continuation of maternal, neonatal, child health services, protection and child protection services to avoid complications and loss of lives.