Shelters, Health Clinics, and Other Essential Facilities Destroyed in Kutupalong, Bangladesh

(Portland, OR) March 25, 2021 – On Monday, March 22, a massive fire broke out in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. Government response services, including fire services, rescue teams, and aid agencies responded. The fire has subsided, but tragically, it has claimed lives, injured hundreds, and consumed the shelters and personal belongings of thousands of Rohingya refugee families. Several essential facilities in the camps have been destroyed.

Preliminary assessments by aid agencies have found that some 10,000 Rohingya refugee families (approximately 45,000 persons) have been displaced. Assessments are ongoing.

While the fire did not impact Medical Teams’ facilities directly, it occurred in the neighboring areas. Medical Teams and Food for the Hungry, which form the Joint Rohingya Response Programme (JRRP), are now working with other aid agencies, authorities, and refugee volunteers to help those affected.

JRRP facilities have remained open to aid those affected by the fire. JRRP has received burn patients and displaced people have moved into the camps where JRRP is working. JRRP is now conducting assessments and is developing a response plan.

UNHCR noted that this incident “once again demonstrated the invaluable role refugee volunteers play in their communities – they were the first responders, helping people to safety, supporting fire response efforts and now continue to work into the night to support aid efforts on the ground. These refugee volunteers have been trained by a number of aid agencies on different aspects of the humanitarian response.”

About Medical Teams in Bangladesh

Medical Teams International, in partnership with Food for the Hungry (FH), has been operating in Bangladesh since August 2017 to address the influx of Rohingya Refugees into Cox’s Bazar, where over 860,000 refugees now reside. Together, Medical Teams and FH form the Joint Rohingya Response Programme (JRRP). Since the program started at the end of 2017, it has sought to address the overall health and rehabilitation of affected communities in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district.

About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at and on social media using @medicalteams.