COERR Mae Sot Organized the Activities for Promotion of Refugees’ Living in the Dry Season

1) COERR Mae Sot and Mae La Camp Organized a Training for Children and Youth on Fire Awareness and Prevention

Fires that broke out in many refugee camps have brought much concern, such as the big fire in Ban Mae Surin Camp, Mae Hong Son Province in which a lot of lives and properties had been lost and affected; a number of fires that also broke out in other camps in Tak Province i.e. 8 times in Nupo camp, Umpang District; 5 times in Umpiem Camp, Pobpra District; and 3 times in this Mae La camp, Tha Song Yang District. Although these fires, started by carelessness, were put out before they could spread and caused much more damage with the help of refugees and COERR’s mini firefighting stations and materials. However, the more basic risk of fire caused by using the highly-flammable housing materials still remains.

Based on these grounds, on March 20, 2013, COERR and concern organizations held a training and activity to raise the refugees’ awareness in Fire Prevention in Mae La camp with the participation of 125 children and youth, 2 Community Service Workers, 8 Security Staff, 2 Section Leaders, 1 Camp Committee, 15 Camp Staff and 2 COERR Foreign Volunteers, totaling 155.

In the morning session, the Camp Security Leader made a speech that children and youth have rights to enjoy their valued living while they also have a duty to learn about things that enable them to help themselves and others from harm such as drugs, as well as disasters. This training has been taken to convince them about risk from fire, causes: natural and man-made; how fire starts: oxygen + heat + flammable materials, 4 types of fire based on international standard classifications (A-solid, B-liquids, C-gas, and D-combustible metals); how to stop the fire by eliminating one of the three factors by using various tools such as fire hook, swatter, water, sand, and fire extinguishers; how to maintain the fire prevention tools; what to do if a fire breaks out: alert people and call for help, inform the concern authority together with putting out fire; divide roles and responsibilities of rescue team, how to evacuate people to safe place; and above all, unity of people in the community can make the fire prevention measure to be best effective.

Then in the afternoon, participants were led to march up the hill and make the firebreak route from Section 1 to Section 5.

Morning Session - Opening Speech

Training for Knowledge and Know-how

Afternoon Session - A March upon the Hill to Make the Fire Break Route

Cut weeds and clear the land to make a firebreak route

While in Umpiem Camp, the Ministry of Interior has set up a new regulation for fire precaution:
• Not kindle a fire after 8.00 pm.
• Not allow refugee to go outside house after 9.00 p.m.
• Turn off all the light after 10.00 p.m.
• Every house was required to have on hand 20 sand bags, 20 water bags, 1 fire hook and 1fire swatter.
In addition MOI and refugees in Umpiem camp installed fire break around the camp to prevent fire from farm outside camp.

2) COERR Mae Sot Organized the Check Dam Construction activity in Umpiem Camp, Pobpra District, Tak Province

Water shortage is common problem in the dry season, especially in the refugee camps. Instead of competing with refugees for water, COERR held a training for refugee farmers, children and youth on how to make dike and check dam to prepare for the coming rainy season. During March 28-29, 2013, the activity was conducted with training session at COERR office by COERR Program Officer. Then 35 COERR Program Officer and camp staff together with 250 refugee adults, children and youth were divided into 5 groups. Each group received tools such as hoes, string, sacks, etc. and went to the planned areas and then started the construction.

It has been hopeful that these dikes and dams can keep water from the coming rainy season for the refugees’ plantation in the next summer.