Fire Rips Through Burmese Refugee Camp in Thailand

Posted February 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 am (UTC-5)
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Fire swept through a Burmese refugee camp on the Thai border Thursday, destroying hundreds of makeshift homes and displacing thousands of people seeking safety from fighting between Burmese government troops and separatist rebels in their homeland.

Television footage showed smoke and flames rising from a vast area of the Umpiem Mai camp, which is home to some 17,000 ethnic Karen refugees from Burma.

“My house was on fire. I have nothing left. My niece is still missing.”

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and officials have not determined the cause of the blaze.

However, local officials said the fire may have been started by a cooking mishap in the camp. Other local reports, including one from the Thailand Burma Border Consortium, which coordinates aid for refugees, said an unknown number of people were injured.