Bringing Awareness to Refugee Camps


Anna Lucia Arguello, Staff Writer

Refugees have been in the news for as long as any of us can remember. America is a melting pot of cultures, with immigration often being one of our top issues. We are not blind to the plight of refugees and the conditions that people face before they cross the border. With all that’s happening here though, we tend to forget the stories unfolding farther away. 

A refugee camp in Bangladesh, currently thought to be the biggest in the world, caught fire last Sunday. The blaze spread quickly, burning through around 2,000 shelters, 35 mosques, and 21 learning centers. 15 people were killed, and 12,000 more found themselves once again without a home or resources they so desperately need. The camp is mostly inhabited by Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, where they are an ethnic and religious minority. Just five years ago, they were subjected to a military genocide for which they’ve received no compensation or apology. Though the genocide is over, they are still not allowed to move freely and have limited access to food, healthcare, and education. Legal and personal persecution continues, and it is nearly impossible for the Rohingya to maintain a good standard of life under the current government. Unfortunately, the troubles didn’t end for those who made it to Bangladesh. Life in a refugee camp is already far from ideal, but some discrimination carries over, even in spaces that should be safe. This particular camp has reported 222 separate fire incidents between January 2021 and December of last year. Of those fires, 60 have been classified as arson. Whether the most recent fire was an accident, or a crime is still under investigation by the Bangladesh government. 

The world is much bigger than many of us can comprehend, with different people and places suffering every day. Remembering every event and name is sadly unrealistic, but a passing awareness is necessary to make informed decisions, especially when it comes to government.