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Goldhap Bhutanese Refugee Camp Destroyed by Fire - OCHA Situation Report (March 2008)
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On 1 March 2008, a fire at the Goldhap Refugee camp in Jhapa district destroyed 1,284 dwellings. Goldhap camp was set up in 1992 and is hosting 9,770 Bhutanese refugees. In total, 1,344 families reside in the area consisting of about 1,512 huts. The cause of the fire was accidental and an initial review indicates a cooking fire as the source. The fire broke out at 1830 hours, and quickly engulfed the entire camp. It was put out only around 2300 with the help of fire engines. The refugees fled in panic to the surrounding areas and were often not even able to secure their most basic necessities from the flames.Miraculously, no casualties were reported. However, seven refugees were injured in the incident. Most families had to spend the first night out in the open.

Camp management offices, the disability centre, the child play centre, and a few houses of local residents next to the camp were also destroyed. Only 228 huts were spared by the fire, as well as the schools and health post. What remained after the fire, are concrete pillars and foundations, as well as some of the wiring and the water system.

In the past 17 years, the camp had expanded from its original size through natural population growth, which left only narrow alleys of less than half a meter distance between the huts. Since building and roofing materials are bamboo and thatch, and it is the dry season, the fire could not be brought under control before it had destroyed 95
per cent of the camp.

The humanitarian community in Nepal and in particular in the Eastern region was immediately alerted. The Chief District Officer (CDO) of Jhapa District arrived on the spot the same evening and took charge of the coordination effort in cooperation with UNHCR. The following day, the Minister of Home Affairs, who happened to be in the area, visited the site. An assessment of the damage and the most immediate needs was carried out. The Contact Group mechanism was activated and UNHCR and the office of the CDO of Jhapa have been coordinating the response.
Publisher:
UNOCHA ,   (2008 )
Type / Script:
Bulletin or Poster in English
Keywords:
SITUATION REPORT, CONFLICT, REFUGEE CAMPS, RECONSTRUCTION, SOLIDARITY, FOOD AID, HEALTH, COUNSELLING, EDUCATION, RESETTLEMENT, DISABILITY, BASIC SERVICES, FLOODS, HEALTH SERVICES, REFUGEES, LATRINES, EMERGENCY RELIEF
Thematic Group:
 UNOCHA : Humanitarian Coordination and Affair
Thesaurus:
01.03.00  -  Maintenance Of Peace And Security
Reference Link:
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