Refugees face increased hardship as funds dry up ahead of their expected repatriation
With once-isolated Myanmar opening up since 2010 elections installed a civilian government, more international aid has poured into the country and NGOs from the West have rushed to set up headquarters there.
However, around 130,000 refugees - mostly members of the Karen ethnic group who fled a bloody conflict in their homeland in eastern Myanmar - still live in camps on the Thai side of the border.
Both governments, along with refugee groups and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, have been negotiating their return, although no timeframe has been set. Yet with the funding drying up, aid workers on the border say the situation is become increasingly desperate.
"The funding available for humanitarian support is decreasing," says Sally Thompson, head of The Border Consortium (TBC), a group of 10 international NGOs working in the field. "In 2014 we will still find ways to support refugees, but we have got to do it more efficiently. There are no spare funds."
Many refugees will see their rice rations for December cut as households are categorised according to need. Although the most needy households will receive more rice - alongside meagre rations of split peas, vegetable oil, flour and fish paste - the cuts are driven by reductions in funding for food aid.
Full Story: The Nation
News and updates on Myanmar's ethnic internal conflicts.
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