UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on Thursday expressed its continued encouragement and support for the adoption of measures to improve the wellbeing and safety of Myanmar refugees who have been arriving in Thailand since mid-December.
According to official sources, over 9,500 civilians had been forced to flee their homes in Kayin and Kayah states in southeast Myanmar, seeking shelter and protection in Tak and Mae Hong Son Provinces in Thailand.
While recognizing the assistance provided thus far by the government with the support of local communities, this may not be sustainable nor sufficient for individuals with vulnerabilities and specific healthcare needs, said the UN agency.
“The situation remains extremely uncertain and volatile in Myanmar,” UNHCR said.
Given the pressing humanitarian needs of the refugees and the continued fighting on the Myanmar side of the border, UNHCR called on the Thai Government to transfer the group of refugees being sheltered in the ‘temporary safety area’ in Mae Sot, Tak Province, to another location where they can access safer and more dignified temporary accommodation, and receive improved humanitarian assistance.
UNHCR reiterated its readiness to assist the Thai authorities in responding to the humanitarian needs of the new arrivals.
To that effect, UNHCR and humanitarian partners continue to request access to the refugee population.