Mon, Aug 19, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Fire razes Bangladesh slum, 10,000 left homeless


People on Saturday stand in the rubble after a fire swept through a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Photo: Reuters

At least 10,000 people are homeless after a massive fire swept through a crowded slum in the capital of Bangladesh and destroyed thousands of shanties, officials said yesterday.

The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed about 2,000 mostly tin shacks, fire services official Ershad Hossain told reporters.

“I could not salvage a single thing. I don’t know what will I do,” Abdul Hamid, 58, who ran a tea stall inside the slum, said as he broke down in tears.

Authorities eventually got the blaze under control and no one was killed, although several people had minor injuries, firefighters said.

Many residents — largely low-income garment factory workers — were not in the slum as they had left their homes to celebrate the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday with their families.

“Otherwise, the damage would have been bigger,” local police chief Golam Rabbani said.

About 10,000 people have taken refuge in crammed camps at nearby schools closed for the week-long holiday, Hossain said.

“We are providing them with food, water, mobile toilets and electricity supply,” municipal official Shafiul Azam said, adding that authorities were trying to find permanent accommodation.

Some families have erected tarpaulins to shelter them from bouts of rain during the monsoon season, but the wet conditions have turned the fields muddy.

Experts say that fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures.

At least 100 people have been killed so far this year in building fires across the densely populated metropolitan city.

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