By Kyaw Ye Lynn
Six people, including two teenage girls, have been confirmed dead after a fire broke out at a refugee camp in the country’s volatile Rakhine state, an official said on Friday.
The fire, which authorities found to be started accidentally through a spark from a cooking pot at Ohne Taw Chay camp, on the outskirts of state capital Sittwe late Thursday night, destroyed 15 hostels.
Win Myint, the regional government’s spokesman, confirmed the death toll to Anadolu Agency.
The fire has left homeless more than 800 Rohingya, who have been sheltering in the camp since after losing their homes during the communal violence in mid-2012, he said.
“Now they are staying with their relatives in the camp. Some are staying in temporary tent in the camp,” he said, adding a temporary hostel is being built for them.
About 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have been sheltering in twelve camps around Sittwe, according to media reports.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience".
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children, and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.