News / Asia

Migrant Workers Struggling to Escape Thai Floods

Migrant workers from Burma, who were trapped in floods and have been out of work for weeks, hold food rations in Thailand's Ayutthaya province November 1, 2011.
Migrant workers from Burma, who were trapped in floods and have been out of work for weeks, hold food rations in Thailand's Ayutthaya province November 1, 2011.
Ron Corben

Migrant workers, largely from Burma, Cambodia and Laos, are still struggling to escape inundated areas of Thailand.  

There are no reliable estimates of how many people are stranded in the scores of flooded communities in Bangkok and areas north. Aid workers say that among the millions affected in Thailand, as many as 600,000 migrant workers, largely from Burma, are stranded in worsening conditions.

Plight of migrants

Trapped in apartments without electricity, food or drinking water, many are forced to pay exorbitant fees to be transported to dry areas.

Despite the situation, many government shelters have not reached capacity as residents stay with relatives or remain in their flooded homes to protect their possessions.

Human Rights and Development Foundation consultant Andy Hall says the plight of the migrant workers remains difficult.

“Why are the migrant [workers] staying there? They are staying there because maybe they do not understand the situation, maybe they are scared because the do not have documents, maybe they are being coerced to stay in their communities there are mafia [style] organizations in those areas who want to prevent undocumented workers coming in contact with authorities,” said Hall.

Thai industries are estimated to employ more than two-million migrant workers.  Many of these workers are employed in construction and industrial estates in the provinces near the capital, Bangkok, where flooding has been concentrated.

Discrimination

Mekong Migration Network spokesperson Jackie Pollock says many migrant workers, especially from Burma, face ‘neglectful discrimination’ due to language barriers with Thai aid organizations.  

“The relief services have got to reach the migrants," she said. "So I would think it is getting interpreters together with the most organized coordinated relief services, maybe the Thai Red Cross, the organizations which can get out there and really reach people taking these interpreters with them. The Thai Red Cross they are very happy to get to the migrants, they just cannot reach them.”

Those migrants who are officially registered with the government are wary to return home, because their work permits are void once they leave the country.

Documentation

But thousands of Burmese migrant workers have fled to the Thai border town of Mae Sot to return to Burma. Thai authorities are reported to have been detaining many because they failed to have adequate documentation.

Aid workers say Thai and Burmese authorities have moved to stop guards at border checkpoints from demanding bribes from the fleeing workers. But locals report that Burmese immigration authorities are allowing only 150 people to pass into Burma each day, leaving a massive backlog.

Human Rights and Development Foundation’s Hall says the plight of the migrant workers remains a crisis the government should address.

“The ministry of labor should be responsible, but it seems to be that because of the politics involved in this nobody is raising the issue of migrant protection and we see once again that the migrants at a time of crisis are being left behind and they are being shifted to brokers who are exploiting them and also the law enforcement agencies,” added Hall.

The Mekong Migration Network says Thailand must allow registered migrant workers to temporarily leave Thailand and return once the crisis passes without any penalties to assist in the economic recovery.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid