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Aster the fire, TBC has gone to great length to try to rebuild the Umipem Mai camp and provide the refugees with new homes. Photo: TBC

Thailand and Myanmar/Burma: Rebuilding the Umipem Mai camp

On February 23rd 2012 a fire broke out in Umipem Mai camp - home to over 17,600 refugees and displaced persons from Myanmar/Burma. Thousands of people were affected. With the support of donors and partners, The Border Consortium - TBC is now working to rebuild the parts of the camp that were destroyed or damaged by the fire.

Almost 3,000 people lost all their belongings

The blaze tore through five sections of the camp destroying approxi-mately 422 households and damaging 351 others. Thousands of people have been affected, and an estimated 2,800 people have lost everything, including their monthly food rations received only the day before the disaster. 20 people sustained minor injuries in their efforts to stop the fire.

TBC response to the crisis

TBC immediately responded to the emergency by providing food, blankets, mats, mosquito nets and cooking pots to camp residents. People who have lost their homes were also being given emergency shelters to use until their houses are reconstructed.

Refugee camp committees, TBC, UNHCR, and other NGO's working on the border are closely collaborating to coordinate the humanitarian response, to ensure all refugees’ basic needs are met.

Rebuilding and repairing

With the support of donors and partners, TBC will continue to work closely with the camp committees and residents to reconstruct all of the houses destroyed in the fire and repair the shelters sustaining damages.

TBC also worked together with the refugee camp committees and warehouse staff to distribute food rations to the affected families living in temporary sites and in relatives' homes.

Shelter materials are arriving at the camps to rebuild the lost and damaged homes, including bamboo, eucalyptus and thatch.

Expected to be completed in June

Each family will be responsible for reconstructing their own houses with simple tools provided, and staff and skilled carpenters will further aid the efforts of those unable to rebuild themselves.

It is expected that each house will take less than one week to build, and the full reconstruction effort should be completed by June. Currently, most of the families affected have moved back to the original site of the fire and remain living in emergency shelters.