Prayut vows aid for Myanmar refugees

Prayut vows aid for Myanmar refugees

Refugees, who fled a flare-up in fighting between the Myanmar army and ethnic minority rebels, stand at a temporary shelter in Mae Sot district, Tak, on Monday. (Reuters photo)
Refugees, who fled a flare-up in fighting between the Myanmar army and ethnic minority rebels, stand at a temporary shelter in Mae Sot district, Tak, on Monday. (Reuters photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has vowed to take care of every Myanmar refugee who fled to Tak's Mae Sot district during the fighting between Myanmar troops and ethnic Karen rebels, as a humanitarian gesture.

Gen Prayut said on Friday he has instructed authorities to be prepared to provide medications and food rations for the refugees.

Despite over 90,000 having already crossed into Thailand, there will be no new refugee centre established as they will all need to return to Myanmar once the situation improves, Gen Prayut said.

It was reported that villages along the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Sot district were also caught within the range of mortars during the intense battle on the other side of the border.

Asked if any Thais would be evacuated from the affected areas, Gen Prayut described such a move as unnecessary, saying Thai authorities will warn the combatants not to let the conflict spill over into Thai territory.

Meanwhile, the Friends without Borders Foundation released a statement urging the Thai government to provide shelter for the refugees and work with local activists and humanitarian organisations to give them aid.

It said that as the Myanmar military is committing crimes against its own population, Thailand must make a point of standing up against the junta's aggression and sever all direct and indirect support for the Myanmar military regime.

According to one media source, the fighting between the military-backed Karen State Border Guard Force (BGF) and Karen National Union (KNU) has been dragging on for almost 10 days.

The situation has escalated since Myanmar troops conducted an aerial bombardment on Thursday night around Lae Kae Kor and Mor Tou Talay villages in Myanmar's Myawaddy province, opposite Ban Don Chai Rim Moei village in Tak's Mae Sot district.

Afterwards, Myanmar troops bombarded the two locations, where the KNU had been taking cover, firing heavy weaponry for over two hours.

When the situation calmed down, Myanmar villagers near the Moei River fled by swimming across the border to the Thai side.

Security authorities in Mae Sot district have beefed up forces on the border along with field doctors to help injured refugees but with strict Covid-19 measures in place.

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