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Taiwan officials visit refugee camps in Thailand

2012/08/08 21:47:44

Thailand, Aug. 8 ( CNA) Officials from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand visited three refugee camps on the border between Myanmar and Thailand on Wednesday to review an aid program funded by the Taiwanese government.

Since 2008, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given US$220,000 in aid to provide nutritious meals for orphans at the refugee camps in the area.

Over 4,000 Burmese children housed in Mae La, Umpien Mai and Nu Po camps have benefited from the program over the years.

Each meal costs only about 5 Baht (US$0.16), according to the Taipei Overseas Peace Service (TOPS), which helps to administer the aid program.

But TOPS chief Lee Yong-yuan said that because of rising food prices, the meals usually comprise rice in vegetable soup.

"What else we can do for these orphans?" said Jeremy Liang, deputy representative at TECO, as he took in the conditions at Umpiem Mai and Nu Po camps near the western Thailand town of Mae Sot.

Liang said the visit was informative and he will do whatever he can to help the children.

He was scheduled to also visit Mae La, the largest of the three camps with a population of 50,000.

TOPS is part of the Chinese Association for Human Rights, a Taiwan-based non-governmental organization (NGO).

It was founded in 1980 to provide emergency relief and development assistance for Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao refugees who fled the conflicts on the Indochina Peninsula and poured into Thailand, according to its website.

(By Namita Lin and Maia Huang)
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