"At least 470 shanties were destroyed by the fire. So far nine people have died. They included four members of a family," fire brigade official says.

Residents walk past their destroyed houses after a fire broke out in Chittagong on February 17, 2019.
Residents walk past their destroyed houses after a fire broke out in Chittagong on February 17, 2019. (AFP)

A fire tore through a slum in southern Bangladesh on Sunday killing at least nine people and destroying hundreds of shanty homes, police said.

The blaze broke out in the port city of Chittagong at about 3.30am  local time and raced through the district of bamboo, tin and tarpaulin homes, said local police chief Pranab Chowdhury.

"At least 470 shanties were destroyed by the fire. So far nine people have died. They included four members of a family," said fire brigade official Hefazatul Islam.

TRT World's Natasha Hussain has more.

Fires regularly break out in Bangladesh's slums, where millions live in squalid living conditions.

Rights groups have in the past alleged some shanty town blazes were deliberate acts of sabotage by developers seeking to free up property to construct multi-story buildings.

"We have seen fires are used as a weapon to evict poor slum dwellers and squatters from government or private property," said rights activist Nur Khan Liton.

Source: AFP