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Fire Destroys Ban Mai Nai Soi Refugee Camp, 3,000 Refugees Left Homeless



Myanmar refugee children walk through the burned Camp area

Myanmar refugee children walk through the destroyed camp area


MAE HONG SON – Another tragic fire has swept through the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province , leaving more than 3,000 refuge seekers homeless once again.

Some 250 living quarters at the Ban Mai Nai Soi camp in Muang district of the northern province were reduced to ash. There were no reports of casualties, said district chief Sarawut Thaichaoren, who was alerted around 11.30am Tuesday.

Fire trucks and firemen from the Pang Mu tambon administration organization, Muang municipality, and an infantry task force were sent to the scene. The blaze was controlled by 1pm.

Pol Maj Gen Jaruek Limsuwan, commander of Mae Hong Son police, said the official cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, Mr Sarawut said the fire started in the living quarters of a woman identified as Pamae who was boiling water.

Flames spread quickly, fanned by strong wind. The fire sent out thousands of refugees fleeting for their safety.

So far, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries, said the Muang district chief.

About 3,500 refugees living in 250 living quarters were left homeless, local authorities have turned Nai Soi School and a local temple into a temporary shelters for the refugees who ended up in the camp due to flooding.

Non-government organisations on Tuesday sent drinking water and basic necessities to alleviate the refugees’ hardship, he said.

In 2013 Thirty-six people including 10 children died in a fire which destroyed Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son Province.

The blaze destroyed 400 houses and left over two thousand people homeless at the remote mountainous camp, leaving behind a stark landscape of charred tree stumps and debris.

In December of 2014, a fire broke out in the Mae La camp in Tak Province near the border with Myanmar (also known as Burma). The camp is home to over 46,000 mostly ethnic Karen refugees. The next day a fire erupted in the Ban Mai Nai Soi camp, in Mae Hong Son province, which is home to some 13,000 mostly Karenni refugees.

By Damnurn Thaumjok

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