Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud

WFP Response to Devastating Fire in Rohingya Refugee Camp in COX’s Bazaar

March 24, 2021

This is a summary of what was said by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Tomson Phiri – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

GENEVA – The U.N. World Food Programme is working tirelessly to assist people in need following the devastating fire outbreak that tore through four settlements in the Kutupalong Mega Camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

The U.N. World Food Programme immediately provided emergency rations of high-energy biscuits to evacuated families sheltering with friends and families in nearby camps and transit centers and will today – 23 March – provide 60,000 hot meals to affected families.

Last night, U.N. World Food Programme’s Engineering experts were deployed to help contain the fire while food assistance teams provided rapid assistance to affected families. The U.N. World Food Programme also deployed light and heavy machinery, including water tanks, to support the response.

Although the full extent of the damage will become clearer once assessments have been finalized, our frontline staff in the camps reported horrific scenes of devastation, destruction and despair. One of them said imagine losing everything when you were forced from your home just three years ago, only to lose it all over again, and the pain of watching helplessly as your prized – and only – possessions go up in flames.

Two U.N. World Food Programme nutrition centers and one General Food Distribution point were burnt to the ground. The U.N. World Food Programme has been forced to close two other nutrition sites and an electronic-voucher outlet until damage is assessed.

It is not immediately clear exactly how the fire started but what is clear is that the refugees will need substantial support to get them back on their feet again.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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