THAI authorities are keeping a close eye on clashes continuing between Myanmar junta forces and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) fighters in Myawaddy just across the border from Mae Sot today (Dec. 17) with this having led to 2,500 more refugees crossing over last night and another wave is on the way, Thai Rath newspaper said.
After clashing fiercely all of yesterday, with rifles and grenade launchers of various calibres being used, the sound of weapon fire only ceased at midnight with fighting again resuming at 10 a.m. today.
Over 2,500 Myanmar villagers, among them children, women and the elderly, fled their homes in a hurry to escape the gunfire crossing the Moei river to the Thai side. Among them were 56 Thai citizens who had been working in Myanmar.
This new batch of refugees was taken to Mae Tao Klang School’s football field where the others who had come before them are being sheltered with this being over six kilometres away from the border.
The Thai citizens are being quarantined at a government facility in Mae Sot town and are to undergo Covid test.
Although the refugees slept in the open air at the football field last night, today some tents had been pitched to temporarily house them and warm clothes too were distributed. A communal kitchen has been set up at a temple to prepare food for them.
Strict Covid measures are in place with those uninvolved forbidden from having any contact with the refugees.
It was reported that the resumption of the fighting between the two sides led to some ammunition hitting civilian homes and injuring many villagers. There is now a new surge of refugees heading for the Thai side.
Troops from the 14th Infantry Regiment and 346th Border Patrol Police Company as well as officials based in Mae Sot are fully safeguarding this stretch of the Thai border with villagers forbidden from entering the risky zone.
Myanmar refugees taking shelter in Thailand as heavy fighting continues in Myawaddy. Photos: Thai Rath