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Burmese stranded in Thai floods PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 00:00

With no money or identity documents, these Burmese workers are stranded in a flooded Thailand. Evacuation is not an option for the migrant workers marooned in the newly formed swamps and road rivers. Many have entered Thailand illegally. Those that have not, fear arrest or becoming victims of extortion by border officials and opportunist mafia gangs. Just 100km north of Bangkok, these workers wait for food and water delivered by a few aid groups. The head of the Thai action committee for democracy in Burma explained their predicament. 

(SOUNDBITE) (Thai) HEAD OF THAI ACTION COMMITTEE FOR DEMOCRACY IN BURMA (TACDB), LADDAWAN TANTIVITAYAPITAK, SAYING: "These labourers when they have a problem with flooding, they don't know what to do and where to go. They can't leave because many lost their official documents in the floods. Some chose to flee, but were arrested. They don't have money or documents." More than 400 people have been killed and 2 million affected by the floods since July. Activists say migrant workers hit by floods -- a crucial part of Thailand's 319 billion dollar economy -- have been largely ignored. But some are hopeful that work will return once the floods ease. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) 34-YEAR-OLD BURMESE MIGRANT WORKER, SHOW TAE, SAYING: "I can't go home because there is no work there. The floodwaters might go down soon and then there should be work for us." Until then, about 250 Burmese are thought to be receiving help in shelters, but tens of thousands more are affected by the flooding. Some have decided to stay but many are leaving. Activists say thousands of labourers have escaped the swamped area. Crammed onto trucks they pay to get to the Thai-Myanmar border, where some officials have been demanding they more money to allow them to return home. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters


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