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Monday, 14 January 2008

Rayer Bazar Fire

Staff Correspondent

Nearly 8,000 victims of Friday night's fire at Nimtali in the capital's Rayer Bazar area were going almost without food, shelter and warm clothes as they lost everything in the devastating fire.

The fire fighters, police and local people counted that 1,980 shanties had been burnt in the fire at locally known Prince's slum, Sahar Ali's slum, Anwar's slum, Wahab's slum and Shah Shaheb's slum in the capital.

As the affected slum dwellers have no place to go to, many of them were on Saturday trying to rebuild their shanties with the burnt CI sheets while the rest waited for assistance to rebuild their dwellings.

The commissioner of Dhaka City Corporation ward No 47, Jashim Uddin Mahmud, distributed some blankets, rice and used clothes among the victims, but it was too inadequate to meet their demands, the victims said.

Some outsiders have also collected relief, alleged the victims, who are mostly garments workers, domestic helps, roadside vendors, rickshaw pullers and day labours, and live from hand to mouth.

The water used to extinguish the blaze remained stagnant in the area adding to the plights of the fire victims.

'I along with my four minor daughters stayed the whole night under the open sky near the shanty amid cold,' Hanufa Akhter, a victim, said on Saturday.

Garment worker Marufa, who is the only breadwinner for her poverty-stricken family of five members, does not know when and how she would be able to manage a shelter for her family.

'We have neither any additional clothes nor have we any food or money,' she added.

Maleka Begum, a tenant of the Sha Shaheb's slum, alleged that some local miscreants had set the fire to a slum house in their bid to grab the land.

Shahnaz Begum, wife of a stationary shop owner Nazrul Islam, said, 'All of our goods and Tk 39,000 were gutted in the fire.'

The Red Crescent Society has set up a mobile clinic in the area. The clinic manager told New Age that they had provided 300 fire victims with treatment and medicines since morning.

Some people on behalf of the deputy commissioner of Dhaka also distributed some dry foods and used clothes among the victims.

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