Fire leaves thousand of refugees homeless in two camps in Nepal


Devastating fire left thousands of refugees from Bhutan homeless in Goldhap and Sanischare refugee camps in eastern Nepal on Tuesday. In Goldhap, it is estimated that nearly 3,790 of the 4,355 refugees are now homeless and in Sanischare some 1200 of 12,590 refugees, reads a statement issued by the UNHCR.

According to the statement, there have been no reported serious injuries or casualties.

“Fire in two camps on the same day is a huge disaster,” said Stephane Jaquemet, UNHCR Representative, confirming that all efforts are being made to urgently provide emergency relief to all those affected.

“The fire in Goldhap was as huge as the one in 2008 engulfing the majority of the sections in the camp including the health centre and school,” added  Jaquemet, who is on his way to meet the affected families in both the camps.

The fire spread rapidly through the huts built closely together and destroyed some 512 and 200 traditional thatched huts in Goldhap and Sanischare camps respectively. The UNHCR statement said that a detailed investigation will be done to find the cause of the fire.

Hundreds of personnel from the Armed Police Force and refugees fought the fires in both camps using fire trucks and hoses from nearby towns and managed to get both fires under control after several hours.

No major injuries have been reported in Goldhap. A refugee who sustained minor injuries has been referred to the hospital in Chandragadi.

A government-led emergency committee has been set up to coordinate immediate emergency assistance. UNHCR and its NGO partners (Caritas, Lutheran World Federation, the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia), WFP and Nepal Red Cross is distributing ready to eat food, blankets, cooking kits, and tarpaulins for shelter.

A major fire had swept eighty percent of the Goldhap camp in March 2008. Every year hundreds of refugees become homeless due to fire in the camps despite fire prevention and awareness campaigns by the Government, UNHCR and its NGO partners. This happens mostly during the dry season as the building and roofing materials of the huts in the camps are bamboo and thatch and the dryness and wind during the dry season makes it easy for fire to spread at the slightest ignition.


  1. Dear all Bhutanese,
    It is very miserable news that more than 8 thousand people are out of the hut. And they are really seeking their empty hand for kind heart and support.

    There fore, i would like to request all the Bhutanese refugee residing in all the part of the world to extended your kind support rather than your kind words.

    “Present ready hands is better than present ready tongue”.
    USA, Twins Fall