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Fire in Myanmar camp for displaced Muslims injures 14: U.N.

Boys search for useful items among the ashes of burnt houses after fire destroyed shelters at a camp for internally displaced Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine State near Sittwe, Myanmar May 3, 2016.
Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

By Reuters
May 3, 2016

A fire broke out on Tuesday in a camp for internally displaced Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine State, destroying shelters where about 2,000 people had lived and injuring about 14 of them, the United Nations said.

Camps in the area largely house members of the marginalized Rohingya Muslim minority, who were displaced by fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012. 

The fire at the Baw Du Pha 2 camp near the state capital of Sittwe started in the morning. Authorities were investigating the cause but initial reports indicated it was an accident from a cooking fire, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

"Based on the current information available, at least 14 people were injured by the fire. There are unconfirmed reports of fatalities but this has not been verified," it said.

The fire destroyed about 44 "long houses" and damaged up to nine, affecting 440 households, or about 2,000 people, it said.

Authorities in the area were not immediately available for comment.

Myanmar's Rohingya population is stateless and thousands of them have fled persecution and poverty, often by boat to other parts of Southeast Asia.

Some 125,000 Rohingya remain displaced and face severe travel restrictions while living in camps.

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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