- Posted February 23, 2012 by
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Fire ravages refugee camp on Thai-Burma border (File footage)
NGOs based on the Thai-Burmese border report that more than a thousand homes, schools and marketplaces were destroyed when a fire swept through Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp two hours’ drive south of the border town of Mae Sot. No deaths have been reported, although there are said to be several injured.
According to media reports eyewitnesses told journalists that the fire broke out as a family was cooking over a coal fire. The blaze spread quickly around the wooden and bamboo-constructed buildings nearby. The eyewitnesses spoke of scenes of panic a people tried to salvage their belongings from the flames as parents desperately searched for their children in the thick smoke.
The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) which maintains a Regional Support Office in Bangkok is deploying an expert to the camp to make an assessment of the humanitarian situation. ECHO has been provding funding for humanitarian assistance to the camps since 1995. In 2012 ECHO is already committed Euro 6.5 million (ca. US$10 million) mainly for food aid, health care and the provision of clean water and sanitation.
Just 2 months ago a team from ECHO, including ECHO nutrition expert Vitor Serrano, visited Umpiem camp to make an assessment of the humanitarian situation and the ECHO funded projects.
Footage: December 2011