A fire burned down 1,200 houses, affecting about 5,000 people, in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, a border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live.

The cause of the fire has not been established and there have been no casualties, according to initial information.
The cause of the fire has not been established and there have been no casualties, according to initial information. (Reuters)

A fire has swept through a Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh, destroying tents and leaving thousands homeless, according to officials and witnesses.

About 1,200 houses were burnt in the fire on Sunday, according to Kamran Hossain, a spokesman for the Armed Police Battalion, which heads security in the camp.

The blaze left more than 5,000 people homeless, he said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the blaze that hit Camp 16 in Cox's Bazar, a border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live. 

The fire started at 4:40pm (1040 GMT) and was brought under control at around 6:30pm, Hossain told AFP.

Videos of the blaze that raced through shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulin were shared on social media.

READ MORE: Bangladesh demolishes thousands of Rohingya shops

'I lost my dream'

Abdur Rashid, 22, said the fire was so big that he ran for safety as his house and furniture were engulfed by the blaze.

"Everything in my house was burnt. My baby and wife were out. There were a lot of things in the house," he said.

"I saved 30,000 taka (350 dollars) from working as a day labourer The money was burnt in the fire. I am now under open sky. I lost my dream."

Another blaze tore through a Covid-19 treatment centre for refugees in the district last Sunday. There were no casualties.

A devastating fire last March at Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, the world's largest refugee camp, killed at least 15 refugees and burned down more than 10,000 shanties.

Mohammad Yasin, 29, bemoaned the lack of fire safety equipment in the camps.

"Fire occurs here frequently. There was no way we could put out the fire. There was no water. My home is burnt. Many documents, which I brought from Myanmar, are also burnt. And it is cold here," he said.

READ MORE: In pictures: The deadly fire that swept through a Rohingya refugee camp

Source: TRTWorld and agencies