News / Asia

Thousands of Burmese Flee Following Elections, Fighting

Burma citizens cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Burma to Thailand's Mae Sot town, following fighting between Burma soldiers, ethnic Karen fighters, 08 Nov 2010
Burma citizens cross the Moei river as they flee Myawaddy township in Burma to Thailand's Mae Sot town, following fighting between Burma soldiers, ethnic Karen fighters, 08 Nov 2010

Multimedia

Audio

The U.N. refugee agency says it is assisting thousands of new refugees from Burma who fled into Northern Thailand on Monday, a day after the elections. The UNHCR says about 15,000 refugees fled after fighting broke out between ethnic Karen rebels and government troops in the Myawaddy area of eastern Burma, also known as Myanmar.

The U.N. refugee agency says it is coordinating aid to the refugees with private organizations at the request of the Thai authorities. It said it is providing shelter, food and water to the Burmese in the town of Mae Sot.

UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, said refugees started pouring across the border early Monday on foot and on inner tubes across the Moei River. He said some of the refugees told aid workers they were afraid for their lives after their houses were attacked. Others said they fled the sound of fighting.

"Many collected their children from school and fled to Thailand with only the clothes on their back, some even barefoot," said Mahecic. "At first, only women and children were crossing, but later in the day more men arrived. Among the new arrivals are mothers with newborn babies as young as five days and 15 days."  

Mahecic said the new refugees are gathered at two locations on the Thai side. He said there are indications these sites might be too small to hold the swelling numbers, so they will have to be moved.

He said the UNHCR has emptied its warehouse in Mae Sot to provide tents and plastic sheeting. He said a French humanitarian organization has worked overnight to build 50 latrines and install tanks for drinking water.

"Local people have also been pitching in and we have asked that they coordinate their efforts," said Mahecic. "We have asked that they make sure that those most in need get help first. One man delivered 1,000 blankets to the new site, which we plan to distribute today to the most vulnerable. UNHCR staff from our Mae Sot office are on the site again today to monitor the welfare of the new arrivals and find out more about their needs and why they fled. We are working well with the Thai government and NGO's in coordinating services to the refugees."  

Mahecic said there are reports of more fighting and more people are coming over the border.  

He said UNHCR staff are working with Thai authorities to assess the needs of some 3,000 refugees who crossed the border overnight at Three Pagoda Pass west of Bangkok.   

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs