DAMAK, Jan 29: A total of 110 refugee huts were gutted in a fire at the Bhutanese refugee camp in Beldangi-1 of Jhapa district Tuesday.
According to Armed Police Force (APF) inspector Prem Sagar Bista, the inferno completely reduced 60 sheds to ashes while 50 huts were destroyed to prevent the fire from spreading in the camp. He also informed that around 500 refugees have been displaced by the fire.
Inspector Bista further informed that the fire had started from Narabahadur Khapangi Magar´s shed (no 465/66) situated at Sector B 4 at Beldangi-1. The sheds from Unit 3 and 4 have been destroyed in the fire. The fire brigade from Damak Municipality had reached the spot immediately. Two more fire brigades from Itahari and Mechinagar municipalities had later joined to extinguish the fire.
The fire destroyed refugees´ clothes, utensils, books and stationery of the refugee students. The displaced refugees have been kept at the local DBA School and in the hall of Bhutanese Refugee Women´s Forum, according to Refugee Camp Secretary DB Subba.
“The fire victims have been provided shelter at two places. Some of the victims have taken refuge at their relative´s place,” said Subba. Subba further informed that the World Food Program has provided food ration for two days to the fire victims.
Meanwhile, a team comprising deputy director of the Refugee Coordination Unit and Assistant chief district officer of Jhapa Yogendra Dulal, and the chief of District Police Office, Jhapa Sher Bahadur Basnet visited the site of the fire. “We have provided relief for the displaced refugees. The reconstruction of the sheds will start shortly,” said Dulal. He also informed that he had already directed the Lutheran World Federation to immediately start constructing the sheds.
Earlier, a fire on December 4 at the refugee camp at Beldangi-2 had destroyed around 100 huts.