Naypyidaw: A fire has broken out at a Rohingya Muslim camp in western Myanmar, burning hundreds of homes and leaving over 2,000 people homeless on Tuesday.
The fire broke out at the Baw Du Pha camp near the state capital, Sittwe, in Rakhine State on Tuesday, destroying the homes of nearly 450 families.
“About 2,000 people are affected,” said an aid worker, whose name was not mentioned in reports. “They will have no roofs over their heads tonight.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown but it is a stark reminder of dire living conditions of Rohingya Muslims confined to bleak camps in Rahkine state.
Some 140,000 people, mainly Rohingya, have been trapped in the grim displacement camps since they were driven from their homes by waves of Buddhist violence four years ago.
Rohingya Muslims have been facing torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years.A large number of them are believed to have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in attacks by extremist Buddhists since the country’s independence in 1948.
Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, according to the United Nations. Back in March, the UN warned about “dreadful conditions” of the Muslim community in Myanmar.
Rohingyas are labeled “Bengali” by hardline Buddhists. Many government officials brand them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many can trace their ancestry back generations.
Faced with apartheid-like restrictions that limit access to jobs, education and healthcare, thousands have braved perilous boat journeys in search of better lives in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Last month at least 20 Muslims from a Rakhine displacement camp drowned when their boat capsized in choppy waters.