Update: A fire consumed one of the safe centers for young Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar camp

23 May 2023|JRS International Office

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First published via jrs.net

The Jesuit Refugee Service is sorry to report that the Multi-purpose Child and Adolescent Center in the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh was destroyed by fire on Saturday, 20 May. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries. The blazes spread out in the early afternoon and consumed everything in the centre, made of bamboo and tarpaulins. According to our colleagues on the ground, due to the massive damage incurred, the centre is not salvageable and could only be rebuilt from scratch.

The center was part of an initiative launched in 2018 by JRS, and Caritas Bangladesh to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. It offered a space to help the psychological development of children, provide counselling and skill development to adolescents, care for expectant mothers, childcare, and care for children with special needs. “The center was very near and dear to our children, volunteers, and people. Only ashes are visible now, leaving behind many sweet memories that we had with our Rohingya brothers and sisters,” commented Fr Jerry Raymond Gomes S.J., JRS Bangladesh Project Director.

The fire aggravates an already highly vulnerable situation. Since the beginning of June, record-breaking floods have hit the northeastern area of Bangladesh and neighbouring Myanmar, devastating more than 3,000 shelters in 33 Rohingya camps, and affecting the lives of more than 3,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps. Many lost their homes and belongings.

(Inter Sector Coordination Group of the International Organisation for Migration).

Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh that they may no longer suffer.