The Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot will soon be forced to relocate when its land lease expires.
The clinic, situated close to the Thai-Burmese border, has been providing free medical and emergency care to thousands of refugees and migrants since its inception in 1988.
“As the lease for our current clinic location is due to expire soon, we are looking for a more convenient spot, and are raising funds for the relocation,” said founder Dr Cynthia Maung.
“We have accomplished some of these steps and are still working on other issues, such as the construction of new clinic buildings and fund raising.”
The Japanese government has pledged to provide 30 million baht (US$933,000) to assist with the relocation.
Dr Cynthia has also been in talks with other potential sponsors and NGOs to cover construction costs.
“So far, we have raised enough funding for three buildings and – the latest development – the Japanese government has also pledged assistance for the medical ward,” Dr Cynthia said.
Part of the clinic’s land is owned by the Metta Thammarak Foundation, and in July 2013 they sold the land that housed an old clinic and a nursing school to a senior policeman. The foundation’s members disputed the sale but Dr Cynthia said it would not affect the clinic’s services.
In late July, Mae Sot was inundated with flooding, which caused extensive damage to the clinic. Staff were forced to evacuate patients and valuable equipment.
The area around the clinic is prone to flooding and Dr Cynthia said it would cost as much money to reinforce the clinic buildings as it would to relocate.