Photo: Zia Naing

Today’s fire in Cox’s Bazar must lead to better living conditions in makeshift camps

Published 05. Mar 2023
Statement by Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in Bangladesh, Wendy McCance

Today’s massive fire in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar follows a string of devastating fires in the camps in recent years.

“It’s devastating to see the carnage this fire caused just a few hours ago at the Rohingya camps. As the fire grew, people from the community tried their best to contain it. However, there is massive destruction of houses and belongings,” said Wendy McCance, NRC’s country director in Bangladesh.

According to preliminary information from local authorities, the fire destroyed 2,000 shelters, two health centres, 25 learning centres, two water networks, and numerous other facilities.

“We will respond in every way we can, but we cannot continue to do more of the same emergency work every year. Refugees should be given the opportunity to stabilise their lives and have access to sustainable, long-lasting homes with the means to support themselves. With such a critical funding situation, we must ensure value for money and best use of funds; we cannot constantly re-issue tarps and repeat the same work every year. Rohingyas in Bangladesh deserve better,” said McCance.

NRC is monitoring the situation through its emergency response team, and it is ready to scale up its response.