New Delhi: A massive fire broke out at a camp of the Rohingya refugees near Okhla in Kalindi Kunj area of Delhi on Sunday leaving at least 228 of them homeless. Most people escaped with only their lives intact, two persons suffered minor burn injuries besides reducing the shelters to ashes along with a complete loss of household materials.
The fire started at around 3.30am due to a short circuit in the electrical wiring system in the camp and spread rapidly, police said. As many as 44 shanties, a makeshift mosque and a madrasa were gutted in the blaze.
The shanties were made of bamboo and polythene. “It is the reason why everything caught fire so quickly. The fire brigade arrived half an hour later. By then everything was turned into ashes,” said Shabir Alam, 37 a Rohingya.
“I have lost everything, my house, money and utensils. I don’t even have clothes to wear. I had to ask NGO people to buy one shirt for me,” Fayaz Ahmed, 31 who saved Rs 80000 in last five years after collecting scrap told Twocircles.net.
A fire department official said 11 fire tenders were rushed to the camp and it took them three hours to douse the fire. Police teams were sent to the camp to assist the fire-fighters in the rescue operation.
A forensic team and officials from power discom BSES visited the camp to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Various Non-Government organizations are providing food and clothes to the fire affected families. All the Rohingya occupants of the camp have been moved safely to a temporary settlement, police said.
At present, there are more than 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees living in four states: Jammu, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Delhi majority of whom are living in Jammu.
The Rohingya are an ethnic group, the majority of whom are Muslim, who have lived for centuries in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Rohingyas fled Myanmar during a spike of violence some five years ago. Myanmar has denied them citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless.