Asia

Bangladesh fire: Thousands of shacks destroyed in Dhaka slum

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Although the fire was ferocious, no-one died in the blaze

A massive fire has swept through a slum in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, leaving thousands of people homeless.

At least 1,200 tin shacks were destroyed in the Chalantika slum late on Friday, officials said.

Many homes had plastic roofs, which helped the flames to spread. No deaths have been reported, although several people were injured.

Most residents are low-wage earners and many were away after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

There is no word on the cause of the fire.

Who's been affected?

The number of people made homeless by the fire is unclear, with Reuters news agency reporting it to be 3,000 people and AFP putting the number at 10,000.

Earlier reports suggested the number was as high as 50,000.

Bangladeshi onlookers gather after a fire blazes in a slum in Dhaka on August 16, 2019. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The cause of the devastating fire is not yet clear

"According to our investigation committee 1,200 shanties were damaged and out of this 750 shanties burnt totally," Enamur Rahman, junior minister for disaster management and relief, told Reuters.

The government says relief will be provided for the many thousands who are now without shelter.

resident gathers charred debris in a slum in Dhaka on 18 August 2019, after a fire broke out late on August 17 at Mirpur neighbourhood Image copyright AFP
Image caption Daytime images show the scale of the destruction

Some 10,000 people are currently being sheltered in schools that were shut for the festival, fire official Ershad Hossain told AFP.

"I could not salvage a single thing. I don't know what will I do," Abdul Hamid, who ran a tea stall inside the slum, told the news agency.

An investigation is under way. Firefighters took more than six hours to put out the flames.

Residents search for household belongings in a slum in Dhaka on 18 August 2019, Image copyright AFP
Image caption Residents were pictured on Sunday searching through the debris of their homes for belongings
Slum dwellers are seen gather near their shelters after fire burnt them out in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 17 August 2019 Image copyright Reuters

In February a fire in the historic district of Dhaka killed about 80 people and nine died in another blaze in a slum in the coastal city of Chittagong.

Local residents sit on the street with their belongings during the fire Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Local residents sit on the street with their belongings as the fire ripped through the slum

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