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Thai-Burma border: refugee camp fire kills 36

Christian Aid is sad to learn of the tragic deaths of 36 Burmese refugees, following a fire at Ban Mae Surin refugee camp, Mae Hong Son Province, north-west Thailand.

Trapped by the fire

The fire - seemingly caused by a cooking accident – swept through two sections of the camp on Friday 22 March. The victims reportedly included children, elderly and disabled people who were trapped by the fire. An additional 200 people sustained injuries from the blaze.

More than 400 houses were destroyed leaving 2,300 people homeless, while community buildings, schools, clinics and food warehouses were also ruined.

Thai-Burma camp fire

Aerial view of Ban Mae Surin refugee camp devastated by fire.
Photo: Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC)


Food and shelter

Christian Aid partner, Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), is responding with emergency food for affected families, and helping identify sites for temporary shelters.

Sally Thompson, Deputy Director of the TBBC, said: ‘We’ll be supporting this close knit community  - as it struggles to cope with such tremendous loss and grief - by ensuring everyone has enough food and a safe place to shelter.’ 

Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC)

TBBC is launching an emergency appeal to raise the funds needed to replace essential food, homes and community buildings destroyed by the fire. A major clean-up of the site is now required and an assessment of the needs of those affected will be conducted shortly.

For more information on TBBC’s response visit The Border Consortium website.

An estimated 140,000 Burmese refugees currently live in nine camps on the Thai side of the border. Many have been there for more than two decades.  TBBC is a consortium of 12 international non-governmental agencies, including Christian Aid, which has provided food and shelter to refugees on the Thai-Burma border for more than 27 years.


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