Umphiem Refugee Camp Fire, Destroys 10 Homes, Displaces 58 residents

A fire at Umphiem refugee camp in Phop Phra district on the Thai-Burma border on the afternoon of May 7 destroyed 10 houses.

The fire broke out at 2 pm in Section 15 of Zone B, but camp officials said it is still unknown how it started.
Daw Aye Hlaing, secretary of the Section 15 told Karen News that there is still debate about which house the fire started at.

“The cause of the fire and where it started is still unknown. It was not during cooking time. Inquiries by camp officials is ongoing to find out,” Daw Aye Hlaing said.

The fire was brought under control at around 4 pm by camp residents, the Thai military and camp security officials. Four houses were burnt down and some other houses were destroyed as preventive measures to stop the fire spreading.
Camp officials said that 58 people were affected by the fire and that there were no serious injuries, except for some minor burns to people trying to retrieve their belongings from the burning houses. People made homeless by the fire are taking shelter at neighbors.

Naw Baw Nyaw from Umphiem said that “fire break out at least once a year in this camp, but the impacts vary.”

Umphiem refugee camp in Thailand’s Tak Province is home to as many as 13,000 refugees who live in houses that are built with thatch or leaf roofing and bamboo structures. The nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border experience fires every year. The worst fire in 2013 at the Baan Mae Surin camp that killed 45 people.

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