Burmese refugees in Thailand face ration cuts

Umpium refugee camp, one of nine along Thai-Myanmar border
BANGKOK, 24 January 2011 (IRIN) - Rising food prices may prompt the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), an umbrella group of 12 humanitarian organizations working with more than 139,000 Burmese refugees in Thailand, to cut rice rations by up to 20 percent. Additional cuts will be made to salt, suger, oil and chili rations. 

"Increased prices of food and [higher] exchange rates have made it more difficult to buy food," Sally Thompson, the TBBC's deputy executive director, told IRIN. 

The ration for rice, a staple of the Burmese diet, will remain the same for vulnerable groups, including children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women, and the ill. "Vulnerable people are still protected, and TBBC plans to conduct annual nutrition surveys to monitor the health situation," Thompson said. 

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Thailand currently hosts 96,800 refugees from Myanmar who have been registered, and an estimated 53,000 who have not, and are living in nine government-run camps along the 1,400km Thai-Burmese border.
(IRIN News)

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