Sunday, March 2, 2008

10,000 Displaced as Blaze Engulfs Refugee Camp

Source: The Himalayan Times

At least 10,000 Bhutanese refugees have been displaced after a massive inferno burnt down nearly 1,350 huts at a refugee camp at Goldhap of Garamani VDC of Jhapa last night.
Four refugees were injured in the incident while a child is missing, police said. Among the 1600 huts in the camp, only 250 could be saved.

The fire spread from the kitchen of the hut of Kedar Dhakal at around 6 pm while all the members of the family were taking meal. They were rescued by neighbours. The fire then gutted 1,350 huts within four hours before it was doused at around 10 pm with the efforts of fire fighters from Bhadrapur, Mechinagar and Damak, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel, Nepal Army personnel and locals.

SP at Jhapa district police office Rajendra Shrestha said Narayan Bhujel (17), Tilak Pokhrel (19), Tara Niraula (20) and Homnath Acharya (18) were injured in the blaze and they are being treated at Mechi zonal hospital. The name of the missing child is not known.
After the inferno, refugees have been stranded in nearby jungle, schools, food go-downs and open fields.

Dozens of livestock animals were reportedly killed in the blaze. The exact extent of the damage is yet to be assessed.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula this morning made an on-site inspection of the Bhutanese refugee camp. Sitaula acquired information about the extent of the damage and the situation of the victims. Preliminary estimates said the inferno caused damages worth tens of millions of rupees.

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