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Cox’s Bazar fire demonstrates ‘heartbreaking’ situation: Australian Red Cross calls for additional support

26 March 2021

Australian Red Cross is today calling for renewed efforts to support the estimated 1 million people in refugee camps in Bangladesh, after a fire affected tens of thousands at the Cox’s Bazar camp.  

At the time of release, the latest reports indicate that 15 people died and about 45,000 were forced to flee for their safety.  

"Some people already had very little. It’s likely they’ve lost almost everything including their homes and belongings. It’s heartbreaking,” said Australian Red Cross Director International, Michael Annear.  

“This demonstrates the awful outcomes that can result from overcrowding and follows another fire and floods last year. This represents another terrible blow to some of the most vulnerable people within our region, many of whom fled to Bangladesh after seeing their homes burnt to the ground in Rakhine, Myanmar,” he said.  

“We in Australia know all too well the terrifying effects of large-scale fires that affect thousands of people. We are well placed to support people elsewhere as they try to recover from not just this, but broader trauma caused by the mass displacement of populations.” said Mr Annear.  

“More than 1,000 Bangladesh Red Crescent staff and volunteers worked through the night with fire fighters and camp residents to douse the fire. We will continue to support the work of Bangladesh Red Crescent as it strives to provide a safe and dignified place for all those affected, and by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar.”  

Australian Red Cross supports work to address this vulnerability through its Bangladesh-Myanmar Crisis Appeal. Donations can be made via redcross.org.au/myanmar-crisis-appeal 

For media queries, contact media@redcross.org.au or 1800 733 443