Taiwanese group offers aid to Myanmar refugees after fire

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) A Taiwanese-founded non-profit philanthropic group said Friday that it is working with a non-government organization (NGO) to offer assistance to Myanmar refugees in Thailand after a fire in a refugee camp a day earlier. The Taipei Overseas Peace Service (TOPS), which has been carrying out humanitarian work in refugee camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border since 1997, said the fire broke out in Umpiem Mai refugee camp located in Thailand’s Mae Sot area. The blaze destroyed around 500 buildings, including schools, markets and houses, leaving 1,500 people homeless. No casualties were reported, TOPS’s Thailand Director Kevin Lee said. Two out of 11 kindergartens that the TOPS helped establish were also destroyed, Lee said. He said the group will work with the Thailand Burma Border Consortium, a British NGO, to provide assistance and distribute resources to those affected. Home to more than 15,000 refugees, Umpiem Mai is situated on the border where some of Myanmar’s 150,000 displaced people reside. (By Sunrise Huang and Jamie Wang)