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Christian Aid helps Burmese refugees after fire in camp leaves thousands homeless

February 28 2012 - Christian Aid has sent £20,000 to help provide food and shelter for thousands of Burmese refugees made homeless after fire swept through their camp on Friday.

The blaze at Umpiem Mai camp, Tak Province, Thailand destroyed 350 homes, two mosques and two primary schools.  

Sally Thompson, Deputy Director of the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), a Christian Aid partner organisation, said a third of the camp was destroyed.

‘Some 2,500 refugees lost everything, including their monthly food ration that had been distributed just a day earlier,’ she said.

‘Twenty people were injured putting out the blaze, thankfully none of them seriously.

‘TBBC staff are on site helping families find food and shelter.  Rice, blankets and clothes have been given out and we will be providing building materials well before the rainy season starts in the next few months.’

Repairing the damage is expected to cost in the region of £250,000. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

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.

An estimated 145,000 Burmese refugees currently live in nine camps on the Thai side of the border. Many have been there for more than two decades. With limited access to education, health services and materials they especially need aid to meet their food and shelter needs in times of emergencies.

A resettlement programme has allowed several thousand refugees to move to third countries but the flow of people continues across the border each year as others seek safety from the threat of violence and insecurity.

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If you would like further information or to arrange an interview please contact Jo Rogers on +44207 523 2460 and jrogers@christian-aid.org 


Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk