DSC00136
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

Mae Ra Ma Luang

Location
Sob Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province

Distance from Border
4 km in a straight line, 6 km down the Yuam River.

Distance from Mae Sariang
Mae Sam Laep, 90 kms / 4 hours driving time in normal conditions

Accessiblility
Car: All-year-round access; 4WD + chains required in the rainy season.
Boat: Access from Mae Saam Laep downstream approx. 1½ hrs (or Mae Ngao with 5 hr walk). 
Phone: No mobile phone coverage. However, phone coverage is available in a nearby village approx. 30 mins away.
Note: Due to its isolated location, arrangements can be made for visitors to sleep overnight in the camp.

Camp Geography
Area 1,600 rai (256 ha)

Introduction and History

Camps Mae Ra Ma Luang 894X300

Mae Ra Ma Luang is also known as Mae Ra Moe or Mae Ra Mu in the Karen/Kayin language.  The camp population of more than 13,000 is 99 percent ethnic Karen/Kayin.

Mae Ra Ma Luang was set up in February 1995, following the fall of Manerplaw, the former headquarters of the Karen/Kayin resistance.

Manerplaw was also a temporary home to many of the pro-democracy groups that fled crackdowns following the demonstrations throughout Burma/Myanmar in 1988. This area has since been occupied by Burma/Myanmar Army and DKBA (Democratic Karen Benevolent Army) troops.

The initial population of Mae Ra Ma Luang was about 4,500+. However, in February/March 1998, during the consolidation of the Salween camps to the north, there was a further influx of about 2-3,000 refugees who did not want to relocate to the consolidation camps of Ban Sala and Mae Khong Kha (now known as Mae La Oon).

The camp extended southwards to accommodate these new residents to where the Mae Ra Ma Luang River flows into the larger Yuam River. This new part of the camp became Section 7. It straddles the provincial boundary between Mae Hong Son and Tak provinces.

Due to its isolation, the camp is off the mains electricity grid. The camp office and health, education and social 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 13%
5-17 Yrs 36.1%
Adult 50.5%
Breakdown by Gender
Female 50.8%
Male 49.2%
Breakdown by Ethnicity
Karen/Kayin 99.4%
Burman 0.4%
Other 0.2%

Resettlement (Source: IOM)

In 2005, the Royal Thai Government gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. As of December 2013, 8,388 people had departed from Mae Ra Ma Luang. The majority resettled in the USA and Australia.