A devastating fire has burnt 4,000 shanties at Ilias Molla Slum in Dhaka’s Mirpur, Agencies report.
Smoke still obscured the area around 8:30am. Fire service workers said it would take more time to finish damping work.
Fire Service Director (Operations) Maj Shakil Newaz told the media that information provided to them suggests there were approximately 8,000 shanties at the slum. Approximately 50 to 55 percent have been burnt in the fire, he said.
Narrow roads leading to the slum and lack of available water sources slowed the fire service efforts, Maj Newaz said. No deaths have been reported thus far, but a woman has been taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with injuries.
Some 25,000 people live in the 70 bighas of land at Ilias Molla Slum, most of who are low-income labourers. A significant section of the population works at various Mirpur garments factories.
Many of the houses stocked scrap cloth, which may have contributed to the speed which the fire spread, a local said.
Several rickshaws and vans were parked in front of the access road to the slum and bricks had been parked on the road for ongoing construction work, hampering the fire service, locals said.
The fire started at the northern end of the slum, but was soon carried to the southern end by the wind. The closely packed buildings also aided the fire’s spread.
Though most residents were able to flee safely, many have lost all their possessions. Local MP Ilias Ali Molla said arrangements would be made to support and rehouse those affected by the fire.