Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand now empty
The Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand are now empty. The last group of 705 Cambodians left Thailand on 24 March to return to Cambodia. Altogether 50,000 refugees have returned, of whom 35,000 with UNHCR's assistance.
Most of the refugees have returned to areas of Anlong Veng and Battambang in the north-western part of the country, but some returnees asked for UNHCR's help to go back to places in the east of the country which their families left twenty years ago. With the assistance of UNHCR, 2,500 refugees returned to the remote eastern provinces of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri.
A UNHCR programme has been put in place to monitor the welfare of the returnees and to assist in their reintegration. Three UNHCR Field Offices in Battambang, Siem Reap and Sisophon will implement "Quick Impact Projects" to rehabilitate local infrastructure and help returnees to become self-supporting.
UNHCR is urging more attention to the need to clear mines in rural areas. Deminers are hard at work, but it will take years to clean the country of the scourge of land mines.