UNHCR and partners rush aid to Thailand refugee camp after fire

Press Releases, 23 March 2013

More than 30 refugees from Myanmar have died and four are seriously injured after a fire broke out on Friday afternoon in Ban Mae Surin refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province, north-western Thailand.

Many of the victims have been taken to local hospitals. The authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that destroyed hundreds of thatched huts in two camp sectors before it was put out on Friday evening. Some 2,300 refugees have lost their homes and possessions in the disaster. Initial reports suggest the blaze was sparked by a cooking accident.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident and doing what we can to provide instant relief," said UNHCR's Representative in Thailand, Mireille Girard. "Our teams are returning to the camp this morning with plastic sheets, blankets, bed mats and other items to provide temporary emergency shelter before their homes can be rebuilt."

The camp's clinic and food distribution centre were also razed in the fire. The International Rescue Committee has sent transport and other immediate support for injured refugees. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also offered help for the seriously injured. The Border Consortium of non-governmental organizations is making arrangements for food to be provided.

Relief efforts are being coordinated by the Royal Thai Government, provincial and camp authorities, who administer the remote camp located in rough terrain 90 km from Mae Hong Son town.

Ban Mae Surin camp was set up in 1992 and is home to some 3,500 refugees who fled ethnic conflict in Myanmar.

For more information, please contact:

  • In Bangkok Vivian Tan on mobile +66 818 270 280 email: tanv@unhcr.org
  • In Geneva Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106 email baloch@unhcr.org
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Myanmar IDPs pick up the pieces in Rakhine state

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across Myanmar's Rakhine state, where some 115,000 people are desperately in need of aid after being displaced during two waves of inter-communal violence in June and October 2012. The displaced, most of them ethnic Rohingya, have sought shelter in temporary relief camps and others remain scattered across the state, living under tight security in their destroyed villages. Conditions are harsh: the camps are overcrowded and some lack even the most basic of sanitation facilities while many of the villages are totally destroyed and running low on water. In one village, more than 32 families were living cheek-by-jowl in just two large tents. The children have no access to education and the newborn and elderly are in a very vulnerable position due to a lack of medical facilities. UNHCR is distributing relief supplies and working with the authorities and partners to improve camp conditions, but international assistance is required.

Myanmar IDPs pick up the pieces in Rakhine state

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

Myanmar: Olympic Spirit AlivePlay video

Myanmar: Olympic Spirit Alive

The International Olympic Committee and Samsung recently presented sports kits to 20 schools in south-east Myanmar. The lucky children were happy to show off their skills.
By Boat to SafetyPlay video

By Boat to Safety

The recent resurgence in inter-communal violence in western Myanmar, forced hundreds of people to sail to safety on their fishing boats.
Thailand: Thang's Dilemma Play video

Thailand: Thang's Dilemma

Thang is a refugee in Thailand. He and his mother fled his village because he feared being forced to join an army that was killing his own people. No one chooses to be a refugee.