As a fire tore through a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, Dildar Begum ran, terrified, from her family’s shanty to her brother’s home. “It looked like hellfire,” she said.
The fire that destroyed her home killed at least 15 people and left about 400 missing, the United Nations’ refugee agency said. Nonprofit organizations that operate there warn of deteriorating conditions in the camp that is home to more than 720,000 Rohingya who fled a 2017 military offensive in neighboring Myanmar.
The fire began on Monday afternoon and burned through the night, displacing an estimated 45,000 people and injuring more than 560, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency said Tuesday.
Once the fire was finally out, Ms. Begum, who is 48, walked back to her family’s camp bloc, passing burned cows and human corpses. Her family’s shanty had been reduced to ash, along with their possessions. “We are in turmoil now. It seems it would be better if we die, as we lost everything,” she said.
Anowar Azim, 25, said he tried to beat back the fire as it approached his home but couldn’t. His wife emerged from their dwelling with his 1-year-old daughter, as thick smoke and fire engulfed the area. They rushed to safety and are now staying with relatives.