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Fire at Myanmar border camp not arson: Thai official


TAK, Feb 24 – A senior Thai official on Friday reaffirmed that the fire at a border camp for displaced Myanmar nationals in this province was caused by cooking, not by an arson as reported in some foreign media coverage.

Tak provincial deputy governor Wut Sitthisurat remarked while inspecting the Umpiem refugee camp today after fire broke out, destroying about 1,000 bamboo shacks on Thursday.

About 3,000 Myanmar nationals were forced to flee into surrounding forests and build temporary shelters, while concerned Thai officials rushed to the camp to provide initial assistance such as food, water and other necessities as well as medical services.

Twenty persons were reportedly received burn injuries, but no deaths were reported.

Mr Wut said the fire was triggered by a cooking accident and that a full investigation was underway.

He dismissed news reports by foreign media that the fire might be a case of arson.

Umpiem camp is one of a series of Thai-Myanmar border temporary sites, housing some 19,000 Myanmar nationals, ethnic minorities mainly Karen, and Myanmar ethnic Muslim minorities who fled the fighting in their country to seek temporary shelter in Thailand.

The living areas were divided into Zone A (seven villages) and B (eight villages). Thursday’s blaze reportedly destroyed four villages in Zone B and some parts of Zone A. (MCOT online news)
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