23 Feb


On February 23rd, a fire broke out in Umpiem Refugee Camp along the Thai-Burma Border, destroying hundreds of homes.

Details about the fire are extremely unclear, but am I told by a friend working in Umpeim that its cause was a fluid tank explosion, though other sources blamed a forest fire and a coal fire.

The fire raises serious questions about Thailand’s policy of not allowing the camps to utilize construction material that could be considered ‘permanent’, such as concrete, metal and other sensible building materials. Instead, the 150,000 Burmese refugees living in the border-based camps are forced to live in highly flammable (and quite leaky) bamboo houses:

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