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Fire burns shacks for Myanmar refugees in Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) – A fire destroyed about 1,000 bamboo shacks at a camp for Myanmar refugees Thursday across the border in western Thailand.

No casualties were reported from the fire that destroyed about a fifth of the dwellings at the Umpiem Mai camp in Tak province, Thai district official Pot Ruworanan said.

He said the fire spread quickly because the shacks are highly flammable but was extinguished after 1 1/2 hours. The cause of the blaze was not known.

The Thailand Burma Border Consortium, which coordinates aid for the refugrees, said on its website that an undetermined number of people suffered burns and three mosques and two nursery schools were destroyed.

The camp houses about 17,000 of the 130,000 Myanmar refugees living in camps along the Thai border.

Many are from ethnic minorities such as the Karen, who have fought for greater autonomy for decades and in turn faced sometimes brutal repression by Myanmar’s army.

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