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MYANMAR REFUGEES CAMP BURN, DESTROYING 1000 HOUSES

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BANGKOK — A huge fire swept through a crowded Thai border camp home to thousands of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes, the authorities said.
The blaze started at about midday (0500 GMT) and quickly spread around the Umpiem Mai refugee camp, said Poth Ruwaranan, head of Phop Phra district in western Tak province.
  • He told AFP that there were no reports of casualties, but Sally Thompson of the Thai Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), which provides food and shelter at ten border camps, said she had heard of children suffering burns.
    Thompson said more than 1,000 houses, three mosques and two nursery schools were destroyed -- "about a third of the camp" -- while Poth put the figure at 300 homes
    Residents were not allowed to leave the camp, so those who lost their homes would have to stay with relatives or friends on the site, he added.
Camp manager Khetthai Wongsuwan later said the fire had been extinguished and food was being distributed for those affected.
More than 17,000 displaced people from Myanmar were staying in the Umpiem Mai camp as of December, according to figures from the TBBC, a group of international non-governmental organisations operating along the border.
Source: AFP
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