More than 5,000 refugees from Myanmar, including about 800 children, have fled fighting to take temporary refuge in the Mae Sot and Mae Ramat districts of Thailand’s western province of Tak.
Local Thai officials said that the refugees, who are mostly ethnic Karen people, have been crossing the Moei River, a natural borderline and shallow during the dry season, since fighting between government and rebel forces intensified in Myanmar’s Myawaddy province.
The sound of automatic gunfire and occasional explosions are audible on the Thai side of the border. One mortar shell reportedly slammed into a village where Chinese businessmen have their operations, according to Thai security sources, adding that there have been no reports of Chinese nationals seeking refuge in Thailand.
The refugees have been housed at four shelters in Mae Ramat district and six others in Mae Sot district.
Security on the Thai side has been increased, to prevent a possible spill-over of the fighting.