Thousands of poor people left homeless after flames engulf a Dhaka slum

The fire broke out in Mirpur 7, home to about 100,000 people. No casualties were reported because residents were out to celebrate the Eid al-Adha. Some suspect the blaze was deliberate to leave room for the underground metro rail and residential development.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Thousands of poor people have been left homeless following a devastating fire that swept through a slum in Mirpur 7, a high-density area in Dhaka.

Despite the intensity of the fire that destroyed about 1,500 huts, no casualties have been reported.

The slum is home to about 100,000 people. The blaze spread quickly Thursday evening because, among other things, the dwellings had plastic roofs, which made it hard to control the flames.

According to witnesses, there was no loss of life because most residents were celebrating Eid al-Adha. Meanwhile, the authorities have launched an investigation into the causes of the fire.

Local sources told AsiaNews that the fire might have been deliberately set. In fact, the Dhaka underground metro rail is currently under construction in the Mirpur area. This will be followed relatively soon by high-priced residential construction.

"Some say that the fire was the fastest way to clear out the poor,” said one person. “The fact that the slum was deserted was not by chance.”

For the poor, the latest tragedy "was not necessary. The poor have nothing, they collect the few things they have and move to another place.”

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