Elephant Tramples a Refugee Camp, and a Child is Killed


A sign saying “Warning! Route for Wild Elephants” near the Kutupalong-Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh.Credit Indranil Mukherjee/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

One child was killed and dozens of people were injured on Thursday when an elephant tore through a refugee camp in Bangladesh, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled the conflict in Myanmar.

Video of the episode shows refugees scrambling out of the elephant’s path as it runs through the narrow streets of the camp, known as Kutupalong-Balukhali, in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. The documentary filmmaker Shafiur Rahman, who is working in the camp, posted the video on Twitter.

Elephant in Kutupalong #Rohingya#refugee camp today. These events are becoming more frequent. pic.twitter.com/YvKg3rgdH6

— Shafiur Rahman (@shafiur) Feb. 22, 2018

Tramplings have taken the lives of Rohingya refugees before. Since the makeshift Kutupalong-Balukhali camp sprung up on the edges of an elephant sanctuary — attacks on the Rohingya in Myanmar had sent them fleeing from their homes into Bangladesh last year — there have been numerous reports of trampling deaths.

Elephant Tramples a Refugee Camp, and a Child is Killed
Elephant Tramples a Refugee Camp, and a Child is Killed

In October 2017, four refugees were killed nearby.

More than 585,000 people live in the sprawling Kutupalong-Balukhali camp and in the surrounding forested areas, according to the United Nations’ migration agency.

Humanitarian needs and conservation efforts in the area have been at odds in recent months.

The refugee camp is in an important habitat for the endangered Asian elephant and is along a migration route for elephants traveling between Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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