John Owens (VOA) - Source article (direct source) Photo of Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh.  Public Domain File:Kutupalong Refugee Camp (John Owens-VOA).jpg Created: 24 March 2017 Location: 21° 12′ 46.61″ N, 92° 9′ 48.53″ E
06 Mar 2023

Toxic garbage fire - floods in Malaysia - fire in a refugee camp - news in brief from around the world


At least 17 people have died in a fire in a fuel depot in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Up to 50 people are said to have been injured, several of them seriously.

The fire broke out after an explosion at a large fuel depot in a densely populated area late Friday local time. The fire  spread to nearby houses.

Panic broke out in the area after the fire, which was at severe risk of spreading. Thousands have been evacuated from their homes while at least 250 firefighters battled the fire.

The cause of the explosion is believed to be an oil pipeline which broke due to heavy rain. The fuel depot belongs to the state energy company Pertamina and supplies around a quarter of Indonesia with fuel.

Top officials have called for an investigation into the cause of the fire and an audit of the country’s energy facilities after several recent fires, according to The Guardian. 

“After we had multiple fires … it is clear that we must audit all fuel facilities and infrastructures, especially tanks and refineries,” Sugeng Suparwoto, the head of the parliament’s energy commission, told local broadcaster Metro TV on Saturday.


20 firefighters develop breathing issues in garbage fire in India

Indian firefighters are trying to put out a fire at a waste plant which has led to a toxic smoke cover over many areas in Kochi city in Kerala state.

The smoke generated by the fire was causing nausea and dizziness among the firefighters. At least 20 officials from the fire department had developed breathing issues from exposure to the toxic smoke, reports said.

The fire began last week at a local waste management plant. Residents have been advised to remain indoors and use N-95 masks if they step out, according to the BBC. 

Fires are often occuring at landfills in many parts of India, and the cause of ignition is often the methane generated when the garbage decomposes.

The Brahmapuram waste plant, located near the edge of Kochi city, is known for storing large mounds of waste on their grounds.

Officials say fires here are common at this time of the year because of the the extreme heat. Locals have protested earlier against the fires and they have alleged there are health hazard imposed on the public  by the burning of plastic waste on site.

A local firefighter told the Press Trust of India that a complication in the firefighting was that layers of plastic had heated up underneath the mounds of waste, which was delaying the  suppression work.



Over 40,000 evacuated from torrential rains in Malaysia

Several people have died and over 40,000 have been evacuated since several of Malaysia's states were flooded in unusually heavy downpours. Among the dead are an elderly couple who drowned and a man whose car was swept away by the high waters.

According to the environmental organization Malaysian Nature Society, the floods are the worst to hit the state of Johor, since 1969. The state is located just north of Singapore.

"Now the weather is so unpredictable that climate change has outsmarted the meteorologists, said the organization's CEO Vincent Chow.

The Malaysian branch of Friends of the Earth states that the floods are due to deforestation and the increasing lack of green areas in the country. According to local media, homes, cars, roads and entire villages are under water.

The rescue efforts have been made more difficult by continued downpours.


Major fire in one of the world's largest refugee camps

A large fire broke out on Sunday, March 6,  in one of the world's largest refugee camps in Bangladesh. After a few hours, the fire was under control, according to local police data. However,  thousands of people have been forced to flee and are now homeless, according to the Red Cross.

"We cannot currently say how extensive the damage is, but there are no reports of injuries," police officer Rafiqul Islam also confirmed to the Reuters news agency.

The refugee camp in Cox's Bazar is one of the world's largest and in recent years several fires have flared up. On Sunday, another large fire broke out, writes the Red Cross on Twitter. 

What caused the fire is still unclear, but it will be investigated, AFP reports.

The camp is mainly home to Rohingya Muslims, who were driven to flee from neighboring Myanmar, where  an offensive was launched against the ethnic group in 2017.

Bangladesh authorities are investigating the cause of a massive fire in a Rohingya refugee camp which has left 12,000 people without shelter.

No casualties have been reported, but the fire on Sunday razed 2,000 shelters after spreading quickly through gas cylinders in kitchens, officials said, according to the BBC. 

The fire was brought under control within three hours but at least 35 mosques and 21 learning centres for the refugees were also destroyed. 


Photo Credit: (Cover photo Above) 
Photo of the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, before the fire. 
Photo by John Owens (VOA) - Source article (direct source)