Delhi: Fire in Rohingya camp burns dreams of residents to ashes, yet rising again

New Delhi: It was around 3.30 am in the early wee hours of Sunday that a massive fire that broke out in Kanchan Kunj Rohingya refugee camp did not just burnt 40 homes but also washed away dreams of as many as 230 people who are now left with no place to go or to live.

One of the refugee, Ms. Begum who could barely manage to come out alive with her memories now all burnt says: “All I could grab were my two children and my phone. My parchun ki dukaan is gutted, along with all the food, clothes, children’s books, documents, the refugee card, and photos of my parents, siblings and husband took in Rakhine State and Bangladesh years ago… Can you even tell this was my home?”

However, the destitute camp residents are not left alone in the state with help pouring in from various corners.

Delhi government has come forward in immediately providing 230 camp residents a temporary shelter along with separate blankets for each family.

While students from Jamia Millia Islamia rushed into to help with food, water, clothes, feeding bottles and all the necessary stuff for the people.

Hospitals, too, have come forward in lending a helping hand to the camp residents providing them useful medicines and other people have come forward to donate ‘lungis’ for the men.

“But where do we keep these things? There is no place… we need help in rebuilding the homes and shops we’ve lost. We are grateful for the help with clothes and grains, but we also need construction material. We are not beggars; we earn a living,” says a 45-year-old camp resident Mohd Haroon.

Amanatullah Khan AAP MLA from Okhla, told the government is willing to lend as much support as it can to the camp residents. He said: “A JCB crane will level the ground and in a few days, the homes should be ready. It’s private land, but we will help as much as we can. For now, we’ve installed a mobile toilet across the road, and the food is also being provided. I have sent a request to the government about giving Rs 25,000 to each family… it should happen in two-three days.”

A day after the incident that gave a jolt to the destitute families, several college students including Jamia ’s arrived at the site to discuss the matter with the two “zimmedars” of Kanchan Kunj.

A second year Jamia student, Ehtmam Khan said: “We provided interim help but now we want to plan homes on this land itself. We will get in touch with our engineering and architecture department and raise money.”

A 19-year-old mother of a five year toddler said: “It’s very hot, she won’t stop crying. There are so many flies, and no clothes for the baby.”

Other residents of the Okhla region have also come forward to help these families. A group of six residents of Okhla village walked in with cash to help the residents. “I’ve never been here before but I read about it and wanted to help. We are here to identify the head of the settlement so we can donate money. They fled from genocide, they deserve our help,” says a 43-year-old local Mushir Ahmed.