Orientation

Location: Khirirat Sub-district, Phop Phra District, Tak Province
Distance from Border: about 12 kms in a straight line
Distance from Mae Sot: 87 kms, 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)
TBC Feeding Population: 17,159 (March 2012)

Breakdown by Age
<5 Yrs
5-17 Yrs
Adult
 
10.4%
31.7%
57.9%
 
Breakdown by Gender
Female
Male
 
51.49%
48.51%
 
Breakdown by Ethnicity
Karen
Burman
Mon
Other
74.47%
14.07%
3.56%
7.9%
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History
The former Wangka and Mawker camps were relocated to Phop Phra district in mid-to-late 1999. The camps were relocated due to security concerns as Burmese forces had repeatedly attacked both camps. (In March 1998, Wangka camp was 80% burnt to the ground and 4 people killed, the camp had also been attacked in 1997 and 1996). The decision to locate the new camp near a Hmong village called Umpiem Mai was made by the Thai authorities.

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.

Over 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 is available in all sections of the camp, however as new arrivals build houses higher up the slopes their availability to piped water is compromised. Nonetheless, the water supply for the camp is so far sufficient even during the hot season.

In August 2009, mobile phone coverage was made available to the camp, and this has also facilitated privately-run e-mail and Internet services in the community. One year later, in September 2010, the camp was connected to the main electricity grid, with the camp committee and most health, education and social service centres now having access to 24 hour-a-day electricity.

                                                                                                                Courtesy of The Border Consortium

Resettlement (Source: IOM)
In 2005, RTG gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. Statistics for resettlement by camp are available since 2006. As of December 2011, 10,270 persons have departed from Umpiem Mai – the majority resettling in the USA.

 

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  Map : Courtesy of The Border Consortium