On the evening of 16th September continuous heavy rain caused a land slip at the Ban Mae La Oon refugee camp, Sop Moei District in Mae Hong Son Province. As the incident took place after dark, camp residents were not immediately aware of the extent of the damage. When it became clear that some houses in the section had disappeared, the camp leadership mobilised the community to search for survivors. A two-year-old girl was found dead from head injuries – a further 12 residents were injured and 7 were unaccounted for. In the following days, search and rescue operations for the missing residents were conducted both in the camp and along the Yuam, Moei, and Salween rivers, which led to three more bodies being recovered. A further body was sighted in the Salween River on the Myanmar side, but was not recovered or formally identified. The official toll for this disaster therefore remains 4 dead, with four unaccounted for and presumed dead, and 12 injured. More than a dozen temporary shelters and community structures were damaged, including seven refugee shelters and three community buildings which were completely destroyed.
The Border Consortium (TBC) teams immediately visited the camp to provide support to the community, as well as to participate in emergency coordination meetings with Thai officials, Refugee and Camp Committees, and NGOs. In the days following the incident, the Mae Hong Son provincial government convened regular coordination meetings with Thai authorities, military and NGOs, initially in the camp and subsequently at the Sop Moei District Office to coordinate support for the victims.
TBC has provided assistance for victims (and search and rescue volunteers) by distributing replacement food rations and charcoal to all affected households. Shelter materials were provided to repair damaged houses, and TBC worked with the camp-based Shelter Working Group to begin the reconstruction of houses.
In close coordination with the NGOs and UNHCR in the camp, refugees received necessary non-food support (e.g. clothes, blanket, sanitary kits, etc.) and essential health and WASH support.