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Bangladesh fire leaves '50,000 people homeless' after slum destroyed in capital of Dhaka

Mayor says victims will be looked after in temporary shelters after blaze

Conrad Duncan
Saturday 17 August 2019 18:47 BST
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire that ripped through the Mirpur area of Dhaka late on Friday
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire that ripped through the Mirpur area of Dhaka late on Friday (AFP/Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless in Bangladesh after fire tore through a slum in the capital of Dhaka.

About 15,000 homes were destroyed in the blaze, which hit the Mirpur area late on Friday and left 50,000 people homeless, according to the BBC.

Atiqul Islam, mayor of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), has said victims of the fire will be looked after in temporary shelters until they can be rehoused.

“All basic needs for the homeless people will continue till their rehabilitation,” Mr Islam told the local newspaper Dhaka Tribune after visiting the scene.

He added that “permanent establishments” were being erected nearby to house the victims of the blaze, which raged for six hours.

Many residents were reportedly away from the city celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha at the time of the fire.

No deaths have been reported from the blaze so far, although several people were injured.

The fire is thought to have spread quickly as many homes in the slum are made from wood or bamboo and have plastic roofs.

There is no information yet on the cause of the fire but an investigation has been launched, with a report expected within 15 working days.

Residents of the area affected are mostly low-wage earners, such as garment workers and day labourers, who moved to the city for work but sometimes leave for religious holidays.

On Saturday morning, some residents reportedly returned to their homes to see if there was anything from the ruins they could sell.

Although the BBC’s world news service has reported 15,000 homes were destroyed in the fire, earlier local news reports suggested a lower number of damaged homes.

Dhaka Tribune said more than 1,000 shanties were burned in the fire, quoting fire service officials and local people, on Friday.

In February, at least 80 people were killed and 50 others injured in Dhaka after a fire broke out at a residential building that was storing flammable materials and spread to a densely-packed historical district of the city.

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