Karen refugees to get temporary shelters in 1 month


MAE HONG SON, March 26 – About 2,300 refugees whose shelters were burned last Friday will possibly move back to the original site in a month, according to a Thai provincial official here.

Charnchai Srisathien, chief of Khun Yuam district in Mae Hong Son, said the 400 families– some 2,300 refugees — are staying in tents about 500 metres from the refugee camp.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has distributed 800 tents, 1,200 blankets and 1,200 clothing items to the homeless refugees and promised to finish building temporary shelters on the grounds of the fire-razed camp in a month.

The blaze killed 37 refugees, 21 of them men and 16 women, and injured more than 100 people.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said health officials have been dispatched to provide medical service, both physical and mental, to the ethnic Karen people at Mae Surin refugee camp in Khun Yuam district.

Health officials were instructed to monitor the health and sanitary situation especially during the first seven crucial days, he said.