Only five houses have been rebuilt in a Karenni refugee camp in Thailand after a fire in the beginning of the month.
According to camp leadership, there is a shortage of wood and bamboo.
“We have only been able to rebuild five houses as a sufficient amount of bamboo and wood hasn’t arrived at the camp yet, causing delays. I heard that wood and bamboo are still being cut down. The fire-affected residents want to rebuild their houses quickly. We are trying to finish the reconstruction by August,” said Naw Khu Paw, chair of the committee for Karenni Number 1 Refugee Camp in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province.
On July 5, a blaze damaged 71 homes in section five of the camp, temporarily leaving 321 refugees homeless. Most of the structures suffered minimal damage however, so the owners were able to quickly complete repairs. In total, 23 houses needed to be entirely rebuilt, the camp chair said.
The monsoon downpours have further complicated the rebuilding efforts, however.
“It is difficult to use the roads during monsoon. It’s especially difficult for big vehicles to use the bad roads [but they need] to carry the wood and bamboo for the house construction,” said Saw Mann Saw, chair of the Karenni Refugee Committee.
The refugees whose houses are still under construction are currently staying at the homes of their friends and relatives. Non-government organizations and camp officials have been providing them with the necessary items to rebuild their houses, but they are still in need of kitchen utensils and clothes.
The Karenni No 1 Refuge Camp is made up of 17 sections and has a population of around 17,000 refugees.
A similar fire broke out at the camp in April 2015, burning down over 100 houses and leaving over 700 refugees homeless.