Cash aid for Ban Mae Surin refugees

Myanmar government officials have donated more than 320,000 baht to refugees living in the fire-stricken Ban Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son province.

Karen refugees flee as fire broke out in their thatch huts at the Ban Mae Surin refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province, northern Thailand on March 22. (AP Photo)

Authorities in Karenni State, close to the Thai-Myanmar border, donated 322,432 baht (10 million kyat) to Karenni refugees who were affected by the fire that killed 38 and displaced more than 2,300 people on March 22.

The cash was partly made up of personal donations from local leaders, including the head of the Myanmar Peace Centre, Aung Min.

According to The New Light of Myanmar, the country’s main state-run newspaper, the money was delivered to the camp by the Karenni National Progressive Party, along with “blankets, mosquito nets, clothes donated by local people”, and 500 bags of rice from the Nippon Foundation. 

The Karenni State government used the aid delivery to call on refugees to leave Thailand and return to their homeland. Officials promised to offer refugees basic welfare support on their return. 

“State government offers the national people from the relief camps in Thailand to return home and will provide basic needs to them when they arrive in the native regions,” a statement said.

Ban Mae Surin camp leader Shally Than confirmed that some of the donations had already arrived at the site, in a phone interview with The Irrawaddy

Sally Thompson, the director of The Border Consortium (TBC), a humanitarian aid agency that provides food and supplies to Myanmar refugees in Thailand, added that the reconstruction process of the camp will start next week.

There are more than 140,000 Myanmar refugees, mostly ethnic Karen, living in camps in Thailand.

Related search: Myanmar, Thailand, Mae Surin, Karenni State, Myanmar Peace Centre, Aung Min

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