An aid worker has confirmed to Karen News that a fire broke out at Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp, Tak Province, today, burning 11 houses. A further 28 houses had their roofing removed to stop the fire from spreading.
The aid worker said no one was injured. “The fire happened to occur when there was a camp meeting with NGO’s, The Thai Ministry of Interior and Camp officials, so the official response to the fire was very quick,” the aid worker told Karen News.
Karen News is led to understand that the fire occurred in Section 5 of the camp.
Local sources said the fire started at Umpiem around 1:30pm and lasted for about an hour in Section 5, Zone A.
Umpiem is home to around 14,000 refugees according to the latest statistics from The Border Consortium (TBC), that helps administer the camps.
Fires are a recurring problem in Thailand’s nine refugee camps, where buildings are made of wood or bamboo.
In December 2013, a fire destroyed 120 homes in the largest camp, Mae La, and a fire in Umpiem Mai in February 2012, destroyed more than 1,000 homes. A fire that ravaged Ban Mae Surin refugee camp in March last year proved to be the deadliest –killing 37 refugees.