Thailand has a relatively well developed economy and infrastructure. However, occasionally it is seriously challenged by the consequences of natural disasters such as the floods of 2011. These floods hit urban areas in particular which required a large-scale response. People were in need of safe drinking water, food, hygiene kits and medical attention.
Thailand has also been exposed to a humanitarian crisis which has spilled over from the neighbouring Burma/Myanmar into its western provinces, as thousands of people have fled from a conflict across the border. Some 142,000 refugees are housed in the camps along the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border with the international humanitarian assistance provided to help people cope.
During the 2011 floods in Thailand (which affected the whole region) the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO provided €2 million to fund the most urgent needs, such as basic household items, food, water, medicines, hygiene items, jerry cans and gas stoves, plus shelter materials and boats to assist with evacuations and aid distribution.
ECHO has been providing assistance to Burmese refugees in Thailand since 1995, funding mainly food aid, health care and provisions of clean water and sanitation.
In 2012 alone, rice was provided to more than 73,000 refugees in three camps. 100,000 refugees also have access to basic medical services funded by ECHO in five refugee camps, including immunisation and mother and child care programmes. Health workers in the camps receive additional training.
Implementing humanitarian partner organisations include Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), The Border Consortium (TBC) and a number of international NGOs.