Fire Guts Homes in Refugee Camp at Thailand-Myanmar Border

By Kyaw Kha 5 March 2019

YANGON—A fire at the Nu Po refugee camp sheltering Myanmar refugees in Umphang District of Tak Province in Thailand destroyed at least 50 houses on Monday, according to refugees at the camp.

“When I first saw the fire, only two houses were on fire. But as the wind fueled the fire, many houses were gutted. Some houses had to be demolished before they caught fire. We still don’t know the cause of the fire,” said a refugee who witnessed the fire.

Saw Robert Htwe, chairman of the Karen Refugee Committee, said on Monday that he could not yet confirm the extent of damage or injuries.

“I can tell nothing for the time being: we still don’t know the details,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The camp, built in 1996, houses some 10,000 refugees from Myanmar. Most of them ethnic Karen who fled fighting between Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) and the Karen National Liberation Army in Karen State, according to The Border Consortium (TBC), the main provider of food, shelter and other forms of support to the refugees in camps in western Thailand.

According to a report by the TBC, there are nine refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) camps along the Myanmar-Thai border, housing a total of around 100,000 refugees from Myanmar.