Slide 1
BDY Border Wide Coordination Meeting
Rice Farming 1_MRML
Nutrition Camp -based Staff Shows Baby Bright Package _MRML
Youths Helping Their Parents In The Community Garden , Mae La

Ban Mae Surin

Khun Yuam Sub-district, Khun Yuam District, Mae Hong Son Province

Distance from Border
3 km in a straight line, 8½ kms down the Mae Surin River

Distance from Mae Hong Son
90 km. Approx. 3 hours driving time in normal conditions

Distance from Mae Sariang
99 km. Approx. 3½ hours driving in normal conditions

Car: Generally all year round access, 4WD required in the rainy season. Local rivers can swell making access impossible.
Phone: No mobile phone coverage 
Note: Due to severe restrictions of access to this camp, explicit permission papers are required.

Camp Geography
Area  190 rai (30 ha)

Introduction and History

Camps Mae Surin 894X300

Ban Mae Surin has a population of around 2,800 persons. Some 85 percent are Karen and almost 14 percent are ethnic Karenn/Kayah. In March 2013, the camp suffered the worst ever fire in the history of the refugee camps. Tragically, 37 people lost their lives and 200 families were made homeless. The camp has since rebuilt and the community has made outstanding efforts towards recovery.

Refugees were first located along the Mae Surin River here in November 1991. The location has been the site of many of refugee camp consolidations since.

In January 1993, most of the residents of former Karenni/Kayah Camp 4 moved to this site. Former Karenni/Kayah Camp 6, located further downstream about 2 km from the border and with a population of about 300, was moved here in July 1994. In March 1998, when many of the smaller Salween camps were consolidated into what is now Mae La Oon camp, 291 Karenni/Kayah relocated here from Klo Pa camp. And in June 1998, 195 residual refugees from the original Karenni/Kayah Camp 4 arrived and settled in Section 4, the first section you reach as you arrive into the camp.

The camp is so remote that it still manages to maintain strong elements of the typical villages from which many of the residents originally came. Since 2005, when the Royal Thai Government (RTG) approved registered refugees to be eligible to apply for resettlement to third countries, some residents of this camp have relocated to Ban Nai Soi for processing.

Due to its isolation, the camp is off the mains electricity grid. The camp office and health and education centres in the camp have access to power from electric generators. Hydro electricity is widely generated, mainly to recharge vehicle batteries to power household lighting.

Breakdown by Age
<5 Yrs 12%
5-17 Yrs 37.5%
Adult 50.5%
Breakdown by Gender
Female 49.9%
Male 50.5%
Breakdown by Ethnicity
Karenni/Kayah 91%
Karen/Kayin 7.4%
Other 0.7%

In 2005, the Royal Thai Government gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. As of December 2013, 2,340 people have departed from Ban Mae Surin. The majority resetted in the USA.