Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp

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A Rohingya refugee stands. by the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
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A Rohingya refugee sits by the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
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Rohingya refugees salvage belongings from the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp

  • The fire broke out Thursday in Nayapara Camp in Cox’s Bazar district, where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are staying
  • A a senior refugee official said firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control

DHAKA: A fire raced through a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes, officials said. No casualties were reported.
The UNHCR said more than 550 homes sheltering about 3,500 people as well as 150 shops were either totally or partially destroyed in the fire.
The fire broke out early Thursday in Nayapara Camp in Cox’s Bazar district, where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are staying. Nayapara is an old camp that was started decades ago.
Mohammed Shamsud Douza, a senior refugee official, said firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control.
No serious injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was not immediately known.
The UN agency said affected families were being provided shelter materials, winter clothes, hot meals and medical care.
A video showed many refugees searching through charred corrugated iron sheets for valuables.
“This is another devastating blow for the Rohingya people who have endured unspeakable hardship for years,” Save the Children’s country director in Bangladesh, Onno van Manen, said in a statement. “Today’s devastating fire will have robbed many families of what little shelter and dignity was left to them.”
About 700,000 Rohingya fled to the camps in Cox’s Bazar after August 2017, when the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar began a harsh crackdown on the Muslim group following an attack by insurgents. The crackdown included rapes, killings and the torching of thousands of homes, and was termed ethnic cleansing by global rights groups and the UN


Philippines sees ‘close and friendly’ ties with Biden administration

Updated 29 min 3 sec ago

Philippines sees ‘close and friendly’ ties with Biden administration

  • Ties have been tested since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016
  • Philippine political analysts expect the Biden administration to be more vocal than its predecessor

MANILA: The Philippines will maintain “close and friendly” relations with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, a top Philippine official said on Wednesday, amid a period of strain in their decades-old alliance.
“We congratulate again the incoming president and we look forward to having close and friendly relations with the Biden administration,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippines ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
Ties have been tested since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016 and embarked on months of expletive-laden tirades against the United States and threatened repeatedly to scrap their bilateral military agreements.
Duterte has sought warmer ties with China and Russia, and took particular aim at former counterpart Barack Obama, to whom Biden was vice president. He once said he would not visit the United States, calling it a “lousy” country.
Though Duterte has spoken positively about US President Donald Trump, he has remained critical of American foreign policy.
Philippine political analysts expect the Biden administration to be more vocal than its predecessor about human rights issues in the Philippines, including Duterte’s signature war on drugs, during which thousands of people have been killed.