3,000 lose homes after camp blaze

3,000 lose homes after camp blaze

Fire swept through a Myanmar refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province shortly before noon yesterday, leaving more than 3,000 people homeless.

Some 250 living quarters at the Ban Mai Nai Soi camp in Muang district of the northern province were reduced to ash.

There were no reports of serious casualties, said district chief Sarawut Thaichaoren, who was alerted to the blaze about 11.30am.

Fire engines and firemen from the Pang Mu tambon administration organisation, Muang municipality, and an infantry task force were sent to the scene.

The blaze was brought under control by 1pm.

Pol Maj Gen Jaruek Limsuwan, commander of Mae Hong Son police, said no official word on the cause was available.

However, Mr Sarawut said the fire started in the living quarters of a woman identified as Pamae who was boiling water at the time.

The flames spread quickly, fanned by strong winds. The fire sent thousands of refugees fleeing for their safety.

One person's arm was broken but there were no reports of deaths.

About 3,500 refugees were left homeless.

Authorities have turned Nai Soi School and a local temple into temporary shelters for the refugees while authorities determine where to house them.

Non-governmental organisations yesterday sent supplies of drinking water and basic necessities to help the refugees, he said.

Mae Hong Son governor Surapol Panas-amphon toured the camp around 1.30pm and ordered that help be given.

The fire broke out despite authorities, including soldiers, police, and officers from the Interior Ministry last week organising anti-fire training sessions at the camp which is home to a total of 10,428 refugees from Myanmar.

On Monday night, a fire broke out at Mae La Oon refugee camp in Sop Moei district of Mae Hong Son which damaged five living areas affecting 27 refugees.

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