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Cyclone refugees flee to Thailand

Jun 9, 2008 (DVB), Around 100 refugees from Bogalay, Labutta and surrounding villages have fled to the Thai border town of Mae Sot after losing their homes and livelihoods in the cyclone.

One of the refugees said he had lost his home and family when the cyclone hit Burma last month.

"We were left with nothing to eat. All our cattle and buffalo were killed, and all our rice grain was destroyed. That’s why we decided to come out here," he said.

"My house was blown away by the wind during the cyclone. My wife and I had to swim underwater to save ourselves and our four-year-old son, who I was carrying in my arms," he went on.

"But soon my wife was carried away by the tide and I couldn’t save her. My son couldn’t make it either , he died in my arms."

Manh Manh, the director of the Backpack Health Worker Team, said a group had been formed to provide assistance to the new arrivals.

The Emergency Aid Team (Burma) is made up of a number of organisations including the National Health and Education Committee, the Karen Youth Organisation, the Burmese Women's Union and Dr Cynthia Maung's Mae Tao clinic.

"The group has so far provided 1000 baht and a month's ration of rice to each of the refugees and is currently holding discussions on how to keep providing them assistance in the longer term," Manh Manh said.

Reporting by Htet Yarzar

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