The Border Consortium, a coalition of INGO’s that has administered aid to the camps for over three decades, is preparing for a pilot project that uses a card system to deliver food rations to refugee camps residents from the end of July, 2016.
The food card system will begin with some households in the Nu Po and Tham Hin refugee camps as a pilot before rolling out to the other seven refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border.
The TBC is responsible for providing food rations, shelter and other humanitarian assistance to all the nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border.
When the food cards are issued they will be credited with the equivalent of the cost of the food rations refugees receive. Refugees can then go to designated stores and shop to buy food items according to guidelines set up in the new system.
Naw Blooming Night Zan, a spokeperson for the KRC spoke to Karen News about the food cards.
“We are going to change the system so that people won’t need to line up to get their rations twice a month. The cards they will be provided with will be credited with enough money by the appropriate officials so that refugees can go to the shops when they want to buy food.”
Naw Blooming Night Zan said that this will give the camp residents more choices.
“Although the refugees have not been able to choose the food they want to eat under the current system, they can now choose freely the food they want to eat and use less time and money with this food card system. The system will be beneficial for them.”
The card system will start with a three-month pilot period in both the Nu Po refugee camp in Tak province and Tham Hin refugee camp in Ratchaburi province. After the pilot period, the results will be analyzed and decided if the system should be used in the other camps.
Currently refugee camp food rations are supplied twice a month. It includes rice, cooking oil, salt and fish paste as the staple foods. Under the card system, refugees can buy meat, fish as they like, but within the limited amount of credit provided on their card. However, charcoal will still be distributed from warehouses as the current system.
Along the Thai-Burma border, there are nine refugee camps – Mae La, Nu Po, Mae La Oon, Mae Rama Luang, Ban Don Yang, Tham Hin, Karenni Camp 1 and Camp 2. It is estimated that there are a total of over 100,000 people taking refuge in the nine camps.