Rohingya battle the elements
In 10 days, 2nd fire at Narela; no one injured
New Delhi: A day after their six-year-old camp in Kalindi Kunj was destroyed in a massive fire, 47 Rohingya refugee families — now staying in temporary tents on an adjacent plot — are looking at an even more uncertain future.
Battling the sweltering heat, Mohd Saleem (35) said on Monday that the lone hand pump, the only source of clean water, broke down as too many people were using it.
“The government has set up the tent but the heat has been troubling us a lot. When we get some respite from the sun, the mosquitoes swarm in as there is a lot of vegetation in the surrounding areas. There are no proper toilet for the women and the kids and they have to walk some distance for it,” said Saleem, who had shifted to the camp from Myanmar’s Rakhine with his family six years ago.
After working initially as a daily wage labourer, he managed to save some money and opened a small grocery store near the camp. But the fire has destroyed the shop, too. “We still don’t know how the fire started, but it destroyed the toilets, our houses, a small madarsa and my shop,” Saleem said.
The Delhi government has provided them with a temporary roof for five days, and NGOs and people from the nearby areas have also extended a helping hand. In the evening, the families created their separate enclosures using bedsheets donated after the incident. Food was provided by the neighbours and NGOs. But the families don’t know what will be their fate after five days.
“We want to rehabilitate them at the site of the camp. An earthmover is levelling the debris so that work can begin for reconstructing the houses,” Shakilur Rahman, secretary of All India Milli Council, said.
Representatives of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also visited the families and assured that they would get new identification papers. A tentative list of the inhabitants is already being made with all necessary details.
The families are also worried that the kids are missing their classes. “They have lost all books and uniforms. We want to get back on track as soon as possible,” Saleem said.
The police have been deployed around the site to prevent any untoward incident. New Delhi: In the second incident within 10 days, another factory caught fire in Narela Industrial area on Monday. Around 11 fire tenders were sent to the spot to control the blaze.
Fire department officials received the information at 4.24pm about the accident at PVC manufacturing unit in Narela. The flames were brought under control by 6.05pm, following which cooling operations were carried out.
A preliminary probe revealed that the fire broke out in the third floor of the unit when work was going on. Officials suspect short circuit to have started the fire that soon spread to the raw material lying nearby.
Police said the workers quickly left the premises as the fire was contained to the third floor.
A team of forensic experts also visited the site to collect samples and probe the exact cause of fire.
After the fire destroyed their homes, 47 Rohingya refugee families, now staying in temporary tents on an adjacent plot, see an uncertain future