Refugee Fire Update: Death toll confirmed at 35

Karen News is led to understand that the death toll from the fire that destroyed the Ban Mae Surin refugee camp has now been confirmed as 35 with one person still unaccounted for.

Dr Paisarn Thanyawinitchakul, the chief of the Mae Hong Son Public Health Office, was reported in the Bankok Post, as saying that, “35 people have been confirmed dead, 19 seriously injured, and about 100 suffered minor injuries.”

Earlier authorities had estimated that the fire had killed as many as 45 refugees.

The Border Consortium, who supply food and shelter to the refugees living in Thailand said on its website that 200 people were injured in the fire and that 2,300 refugees are homeless.

Thai authorities are now considering and investigating the possibility that embers from nearby forest fires or a kitchen mishap in one of the refugee homes may have started the fire that ripped through the camp on Friday afternoon.

The United Nation High Commission for Refugees in a media statement released on Saturday said the camp’s health clinic and food ration distribution building was destroyed in the fire. UNHCR said “the International Rescue Committee has sent transport and other immediate support for injured refugees. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also offered help for the seriously injured. The Border Consortium of non-governmental organizations is making arrangements for food to be provided.” The Thai Government is coordinating the relief efforts.

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