The news we hear today is that the Burmese army have retaken Myawaddy and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army have retreated to the outskirts of Myawaddy. The Thai army are sending the people back to Myawaddy but many people are afraid to return. http://www.irrawaddy.org/ reports,
'All Refugees Returned to Myawaddy
MAE SOT — All refugees who did not return to Myawaddy on Tuesday were sent back by Thai authorities Wednesday morning. Thai authorities said the process came after agreement was reached with Burmese counterparts led by Col Khin Maung Htay. But social workers here said some refugees are still hiding in rice fields along the Moei river. In Myawaddy, authorities collected a list of those who fled to Thailand during the fighting. One Burmese official in the town said the order to do so came from the regional military command.'
Another report said, “The town was silent when we went back this morning, but there were soldiers searching for explosive devices. Then we heard the soldiers wanted porters, so we come back to the Thai side,” said Han Sein (not his real name), a retire civil servant from Myawaddy, speaking to The Irrawaddy on the bank of the Moei River, which separates Thailand and Burma.
“I saw that some of the shops—particularly the phone shops—had been looted, but I have no idea who did it,” he said, adding that this was the worst incident he had experienced since moving to Myawaddy in 1992.
While many local residents have returned to the town to check their property, many others say they are still too worried about their personal safety to remain there.
“After I got back to my house, I cooked some rice. Then I saw that some people were running away to escape being recruited as porters, so I also came back to Thailand,” said Daw Yee, 74. “I am worried about my home, but right now, safety is my main concern.”
Many who have returned to the Thai side of the border have taken shelter in local monasteries or in houses near the river. Others are said to be hiding in the woods around the Thai border town of Mae Sot.
“I feel the situation in the town is still uncertain. That's why I decided to come to Thailand this morning,” said Ba Maung, 84, who was taken to the Mao Tao clinic in Mae Sot after he arrived on the Thai side. “I was at a monastery during the fighting on Monday.”
Thai soldiers at the Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge between Mae Sot and Myawaddy said they could understand why the refugees were nervous. “The opposite side of the river is too quiet. It's not normal. Something could happen at anytime,” said one Thai sergeant at the bridge.
However, local authorities in Mae Sot are struggling to deal with the influx of thousands of refugees and are eager to see the situation return to normal as quickly as possible. Thai officials and NGO workers said there were only 13 toilets for about 20,000 refugees who arrived on Monday and Tuesday.
The Mae Tao Clinic have launched an appeal to support the efforts to feed and house and help the refugees from Myawaddy. There are many remaining in Mae Sot.
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