Saturday, June 29, 2013

Refugee camps on Thai-Myanmar suffer ration cuts

Thousands living in refugee camps on the border between Thailand and Myanmar will face further cuts of food supplies, according to Karen Information Center (KIC). KIC said The Border Consortium (TBC), which is working in nine refugee camps along the border, may have planned to reduce food supplies because international aid is also being cut from border projects. San San Maw from Ohnphyan refugee camp said: “We heard our rations will be reduced. In the past we received 15 kilos of rice for an adult. But we have received only 12 kilos since 2012. That is not enough. We have no income because we don’t have the right to work officially. In the camp we have to depend on the rations provided by TBC.” While international agencies have been shifting to their aid directly to Myanmar, many refugees still do not think it is safe to return home and feel that such cuts are a way of forcing them to repatriate. “It is not yet safe to go back to Myanmar. We are Christians. We don’t want to go back because of the internal religious conflicts. I think such food supply cuts mean they are making us leave here voluntarily,” said San San Maw. TBC officials said rations would be provided depending on the number of refugees in the camp despite food supply cuts, however some have been taking advantage of free handouts. “According to TBC, some are badly in need of food while some are not,” said a TBC worker from Nopho refugee camp. TBC executive director said they would try their best to continue to provide rations despite difficulties.