We just received dramatic news from Bangladesh: around 3:30 pm local time, a fire broke out in the center of Camp 9, the part of the camp where our project has been running for 2 years. The daycare center where we provided aid, education and food to several dozen children a day has been reduced to ashes. We are likely the only Polish organization involved here, a place marked by the daily suffering of thousands of people. What’s most important, we were able to determine that all patients and staff members were evacuated to a safe place and left unharmed.
Camp 9, home to some 40-60,000 Rohingyas, is still burning. It’s too early to say what caused the fire but initial reports point to a gas cylinder explosion. We’re not sure whether there were any victims among residents of this part of the camp but the scale of destruction is enormous.
The neighboring Médecins Sans Frontières facility and many shacks – which were supposed to be temporary solutions yet ended up serving as many families’ only shelter for years – have also burned to the ground.
We continue to stay in touch with the team on the ground and will keep you updated on any developments as well as our possible responses to this unfathomable tragedy as we plan our next steps. In the meantime, we ask that you send positive thoughts to the victims, who have been robbed of the very little they had.
Just this morning we received pictures from our project showing children proud of their crops. One of the many activities we offer are workshops on how to grow a vegetable garden. The children would then share their harvest with their parents. Not in our worst nightmares could we have anticipated that our facility would literally disappear off the face of the earth within a matter of minutes.