A major blaze ripped through the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on 22 March. More than 40,000 people were directly affected and lost their shelter. Eleven people died and over 550 were injured, according to initial reports. HI’s teams have been deployed to assist the most vulnerable.
HI’s teams, which have worked in the Rohingya camps for eight years (2013), assessed the situation, particularly in relation to the most vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, and older people. Their aim was to determine the needs of disaster-affected families and identify unaccompanied and separated children. Some 500 people were contacted within 48 hours of the disaster.
The fire left many families without a roof over their heads or a change of clothes. Women and children need hygiene kits, mosquito nets, blankets and cooking utensils. The mobility aids previously supplied to families by HI’s teams have been mostly burnt or destroyed. The camp’s organisation has been affected, leaving families in need of information, and many people with disabilities, older people and children traumatised by the fire require psychological support.
Alongside the situation assessment, HI’s teams began providing emergency response in the camps the day after the fire. They supplied psychological first aid in one-to-one and group sessions as well as trauma and burns care. They also set up an assistance mechanism for individuals who have lost mobility aids, such as crutches and walking frames. People affected by the disaster were also informed of available services, including protection for children and isolated women. Our teams also organised recreational activities for children traumatized by the fire.
HI's logistics teams also helped organise the transport of humanitarian aid for organisations working in the camps. On 24 March, HI transported more than 15,000 hot meals for disaster-affected people.
Over the coming days, HI will extend its emergency response to include the distribution of cooking and hygiene kits, and other items.