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Fire in Mae La Camp, Tak Province

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report - 15 February 2021 [EN/TH]

A fire which broke out at 9.50.pm on 9 th February has caused extensive damage to Zone C Section 3 of Mae La camp for displaced persons from Myanmar. Local refugee committees were the first to lead a community response, using sandbags and water buckets to douse the flames and tearing down nearby buildings to stop the fire from spreading. The arrival of the local Thai Fire Brigades meant firehoses and firetrucks could be deployed and working together firefighters and refugee responders managed to contain and successfully extinguish the fire by 11.pm.

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While there were no casualties or serious injuries, the fire did cause substantial damage to the camp. At least 50 houses were completely destroyed in the blaze, while another 50 were rapidly dismantled to control the blaze. This has left hundreds of refugees without homes. One Food Vender outlet was badly damaged, as were community buildings, a vocational training centre and administration buildings belonging to the Thai Ministry of Interior.

Those who lost their homes are currently staying with relatives, family and friends, although this is not sustainable in the long term. Emergency food assistance and extensive building and shelter supplies are required. The cost of damages currently stands at least $25,000 with rapid needs assessments ongoing.

Local communities, Thai authorities, CBOs, INGOs and TBC are currently coordinating the response.

TBC will provide further updates on this situation as it develops.

Read More on Covid-19 Thailand Situation Report

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AstraZeneca Approves Thailand’s Vaccine Factory

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – AstraZeneca has approved safety standards at Thailand’s vaccine factory and will send the first batch of raw materials for vaccine production in June.

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Skin-lightening products market to reach US$31 billion by 2024

In emerging Asian and African economies, the natural aspiration to enhance one’s circumstances has led to rapid growth in the market for skin-lightening products, which is projected to reach US$31 billion by 2024.

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Recent years have seen evolving awareness of systemic inequities including racism, sexism and pro-Western chauvinism.

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?

Oxford Business Group

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Covid-19 led to a slowdown in BRI projects
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative 

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Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.

By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.

However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.

In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.

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