At least one child has died after a big fire engulfed a camp for hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, according to aid workers, who believe that there may be two more victims.
Flames and thick clouds of black smoke rose on Sunday from the site near the town of Qab Elias, which is an hour’s drive from the capital, Beirut, while exploding gas canisters could be heard from a distance.
The blaze, which destroyed about 100 tents, also left at least six people injured, according to the Red Cross. Emergency workers said the fire had turned the tent camp into “ashes”, with only the bathrooms at the edge of the settlement left standing.
Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyaz, reporting from the scene, described scenes of “utter devastation”.
“This is really quite shocking for refugees,” he said. “These are people who fled war and conflict, people who left behind their homes, and the homes they built here from bits of wood and sheets of plastic have been reduced to ashes.”
“First responders told us they believe this fire was started by some sort of cooking accident,” Tyab continued. “They believe one of the residents of this camp had been cooking food inside their home and that it had somehow caught fire.”