A massive fire raced through a crammed refugee camp for Rohingya people in southern Bangladesh, leaving thousands homeless, a fire official and the United Nations said.

At least 2,000 huts were damaged or burned by the fire that broke out on Sunday, officials from the Balukhali fire department told Al Jazeera. 

The blaze hit Camp 11 in Cox’s Bazar, a border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live, with most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.

Reporting from Dhaka, Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury said Balukhali camp is one of the 32 camps in Cox’s Bazar.

“Each hut has four to five people living together as a family and at least half of the population is women and children,” Chowdhury said, adding that fire and rescue officials have not reported any casualties so far but they are still searching for people.

He explained that the region where the fire broke out is quite hilly, making it difficult for rescue teams to reach and for families to escape.

“The health facilities [in the area] are very rudimentary to have a fast response. There are a lot of field hospitals but not enough to respond to 1.2 million people,” he added.

The UN refugee agency’s Regina De La Portilla told Al Jazeera that most shelters in the camp are made with bamboo and tarpaulin.

“The materials we use in the camps are all temporary that can catch fire, and it spreads quickly due to the congested nature of the camps,” she said.

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