As fighting intensifies in Myanmar, over 3,000 people given shelter in Tak

SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2024

More than 3,000 Myanmar people have fled to Thailand amid the ongoing conflict and the Ministry of Public Health is providing humanitarian aid, Thai authorities said on Saturday.

Dr Sopon Eiamsiritaworn, the inspector-general of the ministry’s Health Region 2, said that he had been assigned by Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the ministry’s permanent secretary, to monitor the situation amid an increase in the number of refugees fleeing the fighting and entering Thailand.

Dr Sopon said that care for the people fleeing unrest was based on humanitarian principles. Currently, the local authorities and security agencies in Tak province are ensuring the safety of the areas and providing food and drinking water for refugees, he said.

Medical and public health personnel from Ban Wang Takhian Hospital have set up first-aid stations, mostly treating minor injuries, and are actively monitoring to prevent disease outbreaks.

As fighting intensifies in Myanmar, over 3,000 people given shelter in Tak

The Public Health Office of Tak province plans to support medical personnel from nearby hospitals in the area when requested. Additionally, they have prepared medicines, medical supplies and equipment to handle emergency situations, he said. Sopon assured the public that providing assistance to the displaced people in accordance with humanitarian principles would not impact the services provided to Thai citizens.

Fighting has continued on the Myawaddy side, with reports of bullets from the Myanmar side hitting Thai houses along the border but there have been no casualties.

A statement from the Thai-Myanmar Border Command Centre on "Border Situation in Tak Province” as of 6pm on Saturday reported clashes on the Myanmar side. The statement said there were continuous clashes between the Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups. Additionally, drones and unidentified Myanmar military aircraft dropped bombs in the area near the second Friendship Bridge between Ye Pu Village, Myawaddy district, and Wang Takhian Tai Village, Tha Sai Luad subdistrict in Tak.

As fighting intensifies in Myanmar, over 3,000 people given shelter in Tak

The statement said that on Saturday, from 4.25am to 6pm, there were clashes on the Myanmar side, approximately 2-3 kilometres from the Thai border, between the Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups or factions. Small arms, machine guns, 40mm grenade launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), and unidentified Myanmar military aircraft were used in the clashes.

The first Friendship Bridge between Thailand and Myanmar remains open as usual, and civilian traffic is flowing normally.

However, the second Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot, Tak has been temporarily closed, the statement said.

Amid the increasing influx of refugees from the Myawaddy area, Thai authorities have arranged temporary safe areas for them in Tak. There are a total of six safe areas accommodating 3,027 individuals, the statement said.