One Dead, Seven Missing After Landslide Hits Mae La Oon Refugee Camp

 Landslides have occurred in the camp on the Thai-Burma border before, but this is the first to cause casualties.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Seven people remain missing and one person has been found dead after a landslide caused by heavy rain struck the Mae La Oon refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border on Sunday evening.

According to Saw Bway Doh of the Karen Refugee Committee in nearby Mae Sariang town—in Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand—14 people living in one quarter of the camp suffered injuries after the area was hit by strong water currents from a nearby stream, causing a landslide.

“Refugees with injuries were sent to Mae Sariang town. Six refugees with serious injuries were sent to the hospital in Mae Hong Son [provincial town],” Saw Bway Doh told NMG. “We are still searching for dead bodies. The rescue team is already there and is carrying out their rescue mission. Authorities also brought food and shelter for the refugees. Some people have lost everything including their house, rice, clothes, plates and pots. Some need emergency aid.”

Structures located near the stream have been destroyed, including nine houses, three non-governmental organization offices, and two churches.

The Thai authorities, a rescue team, and other assistance groups from Mae Sariang arrived in Mae La Oon on Monday morning.

Landslides have occurred in the camp before, Saw Bway Doh said, but this is the first year that they have claimed local lives.

Mae La Oon first opened in 2014 and is home to around 9,000 ethnic Karen refugees.