Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp

Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp
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A Rohingya refugee stands. by the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp
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A Rohingya refugee sits by the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp
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Rohingya refugees salvage belongings from the charred remains after a fire broke out in Nayapara Camp in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp

Fire destroys hundreds of homes in Rohingya refugee camp
  • The fire broke out Thursday in Nayapara Camp in Cox’s Bazar district, where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are staying
  • A a senior refugee official said firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control

DHAKA: A fire raced through a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes, officials said. No casualties were reported.
The UNHCR said more than 550 homes sheltering about 3,500 people as well as 150 shops were either totally or partially destroyed in the fire.
The fire broke out early Thursday in Nayapara Camp in Cox’s Bazar district, where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are staying. Nayapara is an old camp that was started decades ago.
Mohammed Shamsud Douza, a senior refugee official, said firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control.
No serious injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was not immediately known.
The UN agency said affected families were being provided shelter materials, winter clothes, hot meals and medical care.
A video showed many refugees searching through charred corrugated iron sheets for valuables.
“This is another devastating blow for the Rohingya people who have endured unspeakable hardship for years,” Save the Children’s country director in Bangladesh, Onno van Manen, said in a statement. “Today’s devastating fire will have robbed many families of what little shelter and dignity was left to them.”
About 700,000 Rohingya fled to the camps in Cox’s Bazar after August 2017, when the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar began a harsh crackdown on the Muslim group following an attack by insurgents. The crackdown included rapes, killings and the torching of thousands of homes, and was termed ethnic cleansing by global rights groups and the UN


China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners
Updated 19 January 2021

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners

China rescuers drill new ‘lifelines’ to trapped gold miners
  • Twenty-two workers have been stuck 540 meters underground near Yantai in east China’s Shandong province

BEIJING: Chinese rescuers drilled several fresh holes Tuesday to reach at least 12 gold miners trapped underground for nine days, as dwindling food supplies and rising waters threatened their survival.
Twenty-two workers have been stuck 540 meters (1,750 feet) underground at the Hushan mine near Yantai in east China’s Shandong province after an explosion damaged the entrance.
After days without any signs of life, some of the trapped miners managed to send up a note attached to a metal wire which rescuers had dropped into the mine on Sunday.
Pleading for help, the handwritten message said a dozen of them were alive but surrounded by water and in need of urgent medical supplies.
Several of the miners were injured, the note said.
A subsequent phone call with the miners revealed 11 were in one location 540 meters below the surface with another – apparently alone – trapped a further 100 meters down.
The whereabouts and condition of the other 10 miners is still unknown.
Rescuers have already dug three channels and sent food, medicine, paper and pencils down thin shafts – lifelines to the miners cut into the earth.
But progress was slow, according to Chen Fei, a top city official.
“The surrounding rock near the ore body is mostly granite... that is very hard, resulting in slow progress of rescue,” Chen told reporters on Monday evening.
“There is a lot of water in the shaft that may flow into the manway and pose a danger to the trapped workers.”
Chen said the current food supply was only enough for two days.
Rescuers drilled three more channels on Tuesday, according to a rescue map published on the Yantai government’s official twitter-like Weibo account.
A telephone connection has also been set up.
Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed dozens of rescuers clearing the main return shaft, while cranes and a massive bore-hole drill was used to dig new rescue channels to reach the trapped miners.
Rescue teams lost precious time since it took more than a day for the accident to be reported, China Youth daily reported citing provincial authorities.
Both the local Communist Party secretary and mayor have been sacked over the 30-hour delay and an official investigation is under way to determine the cause of the explosion.
Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.
In December, 23 workers died after being stuck underground in the southwestern city of Chongqing, just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped underground at another coal mine in the city.