Refugee Camps: First it was Funding Cuts to Food, Education, Healthcare and Social Work – Now 1,000 Administration Workers to Feel Donors Razor

The Karen Refugee Committee claim huge cuts to funding for administration of the Thai-Burma border refugee camps makes it impossible for more than 1,000 camp workers to do their jobs effectively.

The KRC, who manage the camps and coordinate service delivery to the Karen refugee camps said in their July report that its administration work would be hard-hit by the funding reduction.

KRC secretary, Saw Bweh Say, told Karen News that the main funder, The Border Consortium (TBC), have to reduce its funding, as international donors have stop supporting the refugees.

“It has been discussed to completely stop funding the camps’ administration this year. But if we do that, there will be no more administration system in the camps.”

Saw Bweh Say said TBC officials “have re-considered [stopping complete funding] and it was decided to cut support by 60%, but 70% of other operational costs have also been cut.”

Saw Bweh Say said administration funds and other operation costs of the camps were cut by 30% in 2017 and reduced again this year. Karen News understands that in 2019, staff stipends will be further reduced.

Refugee committees, camp committees and more than 1,000 camp workers are concerned the funding cuts will eventually lead to camp closures.

The refugee community has been told by aid officials that funding reductions by international governments and agencies is due to the increased number of refugees around the world and international donors have prioritized its support for other regions – the support for refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border is no longer an international donor priority.

The Border Consortium provided food rations and camp administration funding every month and building materials such as bamboo, wood, and roofing every year for the refugee camps in Thai-Burma border since in the 90s.

Starting in 2014 support for food rations, education, healthcare and social work were cut and withdrawn by several NGOs and INGOs.

Currently as many as 96,000 people are resident in nine refugee camps along Thai-Burma border, these are – Mae La, Umphien, Nupo, Mae Rama Luang, Mae La Ohn, Ban Don Yan, Tham Hin, Karenni camp 1 and 2. Since 2016, through facilitation by the United Nation High Commissioners of Refugees and both the Thai and Burma governments, hundreds of refugees have been voluntarily repatriated.

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