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Umpiem Mai

Location
Khirirat Sub-district, Phop Phra District, Tak Province

Distance from Mae Sot
87 km, approx. 1½ hours driving time

Accessibility
Car: Good, all-year-round access from sealed road (public transport available)
Phone: Good mobile phone coverage in most parts of the camp 
Internet: Privately-run internet services available in camp

Camp Geography
Area 493 rai (79 ha)

Introduction and History

Camps Umpiem Mai 894X300

Umpiem Mai camp has a population of over 12,900 people (June 2014).  Around 82 percent are Karen/Kayin, some 8 percent are Burman and 2 percent are ethnic Mon.

The camp was formed when the former Wangka and Mawker camps were relocated to near a Hmong village called Umpiem in Phop Phra district in mid-to-late 1999.  

Umpiem Mai was initially a harsh environment with little tree cover, torrential rain and a cold climate (the altitude is over 1,200 metres). The camp is situated on very hilly terrain and there was a significant danger from soil erosion, particularly during the rainy season.

During the first year, the camp saw some significant programmes initiated to ensure the integrity of the environment and to help promote a more pleasant living area. COERR and UNHCR surveyed the area and developed tree-planting programmes along with soil erosion projects. Water supply provided by ARC was made available. 

In August 2009, mobile phone coverage was also made available to the camp. This has also facilitated privately-run email and Internet services in the community.

In September 2010 the camp was connected to the main electricity grid. The camp committee office and most health, education and social service centres now have 24 hour-a-day electricity.

Breakdown by Age
<5 Yrs 14.6%
5-17 Yrs 32.6%
Adult 52.9%
Breakdown by Gender
Female 50.4%
Male 49.6%
Breakdown by Ethnicity
Karen/Kayin 82.3%
Burman 8.4%
Mon 2.1%
Other 7.2%

Resettlement (Source: IOM)

In 2005, the Royal Thai Government gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. As of December 2013, 13,120 persons have departed from Umpiem Mai. The majority have resettled in the USA.