Following the fire outbreak in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on 5 March, and its devastating consequences on people living in the most affected areas, the EU has released €1 million in emergency humanitarian assistance.
The funding will focus on shelter and stabilisation of slopes, repair of damaged water and sanitation facilities, emergency health interventions and prevention of disease outbreaks in the camp.
Thanks to its already ongoing EU-funded disaster preparedness programme, the International Organisation for Migration was able to immediately deploy response teams at the outbreak of the fire, to support the affected communities and prevent further damage.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, explained: “EU support has been essential to the immediate response to the widespread fire in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. Right after the outbreak, EU-supported emergency units and volunteers were deployed on the ground to contain the fire and prevent even more dramatic losses. This confirms once again that disaster preparedness can be lifesaving for local communities. With this additional funding, we will ensure that the most urgent shelter, health and sanitation needs of people living in the affected areas are met.”
On 5 March, a devastating fire broke out in one the 33 camps hosting almost 1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh. The blaze destroyed an estimated 2805 shelters, as well as health and education facilities, water networks and other key infrastructures for people living in the camp.
Refugees in the most affected areas lost their belongings, including registration documents, with families and individuals displaced or relocated with relatives, friends or in facilities such as learning centres.
Rohingya refugees fled targeted violence in their native Myanmar in 2017, and the majority have since been hosted by Bangladesh in camps in Cox’s Bazar district. Living conditions in the congested camps remain precarious, and the refugees are entirely dependent on humanitarian aid.
On February this year, the EU released over €23 million to support the efforts of Bangladesh in responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Part of the funds also contribute to disaster preparedness programmes in the country.
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