Cox's Bazar Fire

Cox's Bazar Fire

  • Emergency Response
  • Refugees
  • Story

Rohingya refugees run for their lives, again

March 24, 2021

Monday 22nd March, the world awoke to the shocking images of an uncontrollable fire destroying thousands of shelters in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The images of people fleeing for their lives was heartbreaking, sadly, these families have had to flee for their lives before. Many thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar as a result of political and cultural tensions in 2017. An estimated one million ethnic Rohingya now live in Cox's Bazar, crammed into makeshift shelters.

The UN's refugee agency currently estimates 15 lives have been lost, 560 people have been injured many with significant burns, including children and 45,000 people have been displaced as a result of the fire.

World Vision staff were already in the camps conducting our regular programs. They too had to run for their lives. Once the fire was bought under control, staff from multiple aid organisations began calculating the immediate needs of tens of thousands of families.

In emergency disaster situations, food, water, shelter and basic essentials are key. Within six hours World Vision was able to begin distribution of high-energy biscuits. Other organisations began distributing water, with basic shelters also being constructed.

For the 45,000 families now displaced they will require ongoing support to survive, recover and start to build a future, again.

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Never before have the immediate needs of vulnerable children and their families been so great. Covid-19, climate change, food insecurity and violence have only increased the vulnerability of some 79.5 million (UN 2019*) forcibly displaced persons.

1% of the world's population is displaced. Among them are nearly 26 million refugees, around half of whom are under the age of 18*.

Refugees and those forcibly displaced face realities most of us simply can not truly comprehend. Often fleeing for their lives, families are forced to leave everything behind just to stay alive. Some must cross borders, many attempt to find shelter in camps for Informal Displaceed Persons (IDP) within their home country. Conditions are mostly devastating and children are highly vulnerable to violence, neglect, exploitation. Childhoods are robbed along with children's futures and dreams.

Childhood Rescue provides support in many ways - working directly with refugees, partner NGOs, and with government agencies. Support includes:

  • Providing urgent and ongoing food assistance
  • Establishing child-friendly spaces for psycho-social and mental health support
  • Child awareness sessions and places to play and be a child
  • WASH programs that provide water & sanitation programs and support

*UN statistics can be found here: