MORE than 230 Rohingya refugees have been left homeless after a massive fire destroyed their camp in Delhi, India. While no casualties have been reported, the residents reportedly left behind all their belongings including identity cards and documents needed for repatriation.
According to Times of India, the fire broke out at about 3 am on Sunday due to a short circuit, and raged for three hours before being extinguished by fire services. The fire quickly spread across the 47 homes destroying everything in the makeshift camp in which shelters are predominantly made from plastic sheets and asbestos.
One resident told of how quickly the temporary shelters burned, giving people only enough time to wake their family members.
— Altaf Qadri (@AltafQadriAP) April 15, 2018
“People from the adjoining areas came and tried to douse the fire with buckets of water but the tents quickly caught fire and were destroyed,” Syed Hussain, who has been living in the camp since 2012, recalled.
The refugees told news agencies that they have lost all belongings including the little money they had as they have no bank accounts. All occupants have since been moved to a temporary shelter, police said.
Delhi: Rohingya refugees, living in a slum near Kalindi Kunj Metro Station, shifted to the nearby ground after the slum caught fire last morning, say ‘Everything we had was gutted in the fire. We’re being provided food & clothes by locals, a lot of help was provided by police’. pic.twitter.com/U7dSlf24lm
— ANI (@ANI) April 15, 2018
Rohingya camps have gained attention in recent weeks after the Supreme Court asked the government to produce a report into the living conditions in two camps in Delhi and Haryana after it was found that basic facilities such as drinking water and sanitation were not available. The now destroyed Kalindi Kunj in Delhi was one of the camps to be reviewed.
A lawyer acting on behalf of the refugees said they were subjected to discrimination when it comes to the provision of such amenities.
The report into the conditions in the camps is expected to be reviewed on May 9.
This is what the #Rohingya settlement in Delhi was reduced to after fire broke out in Delhi yesterday. Media debate/outrage still awaited for this rohingyas settlement in a non BJP ruled state.#SpeakUpIndia#MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/9mSrsTNqGc
— Geetika Swami (@SwamiGeetika) April 16, 2018
A report from The Indian Express found almost unliveable conditions when they visited four settlements housing Rohingya. There was no access to drinking water, education, healthcare or sanitation, they found. Women are also denied reproductive rights and children are suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea.
There are an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in India, many of whom have been there for more than a decade. Fleeing violence in Rakhine State of Burma, many are now living in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.