Thailand — More than 60 Karen refugees from Myanmar were killed and over 100 others wounded by a brushfire Friday night which engulfed their refugee camp in northwestern Thailand, police said on Saturday.
The death toll has risen to over 60 from previous 30 as many of the refugees who had been seriously injured were later pronounced dead after the incident.
Police said the brushfire broke out in vicinity of the camp, located in the border province of Mae Hong Son which housed an estimated 3,800 Karen refugees who had fled fighting inside Myanmar. The three-hour blaze spread wide and fast due to the refugees’ houses which were made of bamboo rods and dried banana leaves.
More than 100 Karen refugees were injured, several of whom were reportedly in serious condition. More than 200 houses inside Mae Surin refugee camp in Khun Yuam district were burned off by the dry-season brushfire, the police said.
The Thai authorities evacuated the Karens to safe areas while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provided relief aid, including tents for temporary lodging.