Last week’s drop in temperature has caused many to build bonfires, resulting in several fire accidents
Two people have died and 15 others have been injured while trying to light a bonfire in Rangpur.
The deceased—Razia Begum, 27, and Momena Begum, 32—hail from Kaliganj upazila and Aditmari upazila, respectively, under Lalmonirhat district.
They died while undergoing treatment at Rangpur Medical College and Hospital (RMCH) over the last three days.
The other 14 injured are receiving treatment at the burn unit, while one has been transferred to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) burn unit.
For the last week, Rangpur has been experiencing severe cold waves, and the temperature has dropped between 7 and 8 degrees Celsius.
The temperature has affected the poor the most, as, lacking warm clothes, they have had to resort to making bonfires; which are prone to fire-related accidents.
While visiting the burn unit of RMCH, this correspondent saw that most of the unit’s patients are women and children who were burned in their attempts to keep warm by lighting bonfires.
Labonno Begum from Nageshwari upazila in Kurigram told this correspondent: "My clothes accidently caught fire while I was trying to light a fire using straw and bramble. I was burned all the way from my waist to feet."
Jarina Begum from Mominpur village of Rangpur spoke of a similar incident. Most of the women and children have been admitted with burned limbs.
Meanwhile, Assistant Professor Dr Maruful Islam, also the head of Burn and Plastic Surgery unit of RMCH, said: "Last year, 12 people died by getting accidentally burned while trying to light fires to ward off the cold.
"Already two have died and 15 others are receiving treatment this year," he continued. "The number of deaths might increase."
Dr Maruful said most of the patients have 30-40% burn injuries, while five are in critical condition. "Most of the disadvantaged people cannot even afford the medicines necessary for the treatment, but the hospital is trying its best.
"There should be a steady supply of warm clothes for the disadvantaged so these accidents can be avoided later," he said.