Fire in Karenni Refugee Camp Guts 150 Houses

By Kyaw Kha 8 April 2015

RANGOON — A fire in a refugee camp in northern Thailand left about 1,000 people homeless as of Tuesday evening, according to a camp official.

The blaze in Ban Mai Nai Soi tore through about 150 houses made of wood and bamboo from about 11 am to 2pm on Tuesday. No casualties or injuries have been reported.

Camp official Poe Yel said the victims will be provided emergency shelter.

“We will temporarily accommodate the fire victims and the camp committee will cook meals for them,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The committee is now compiling a list of the damages and rebuilding is expected to take about one month, he said.

Caused by stray embers and exacerbated by strong winds and a dry climate, the fire consumed two wards of the camp, which is home to more than 11,000 people.

The residents of Ban Mai Nai Soi are predominantly ethnic Karenni, a minority from a small state in eastern Burma.

A previous fire in Ban Mai Nai Soi in 2013 claimed the life of an elderly woman and destroyed more than 20 houses.

The camp is one of nine officially recognized temporary settlements for refugees from Burma in northern Thailand.

About 130,000 people live in the nine camps, which have existed for decades as minorities and dissidents fled across the border to escape persecution and civil war.