Burmese woman fleeing clashes in homeland gives birth on border with Thaialnd

A Burmese woman gave birth to a baby boy while fleeing from clashes between rebels and soldiers in her homeland.

The mother was among hundreds of refugees that left Karen State in Myanmar and took shelter in camps across the border in Tak province, northern Thailand.

She started having contractions in the town of Ban Mae Tao Mittraphap in Mae Sot district on Monday night, December 20.

The woman, who has not been named, gave birth in an empty school before being taken to the Mae Sot district hospital. Both her and the newborn boy were healthy.

School caretaker Udom Khamon said: ‘I was about to eat a meal when I heard the woman was in pain. She was screaming.

‘I went to see and found out she was pregnant. I called an ambulance and paramedics arrived to help her give birth.’

Fighting between the rebel group the Karen National Union (KNU) and Burmese military has intensified in recent weeks amid the political turmoil in the country caused by the ousting for former leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February.

Thousands of terrified villagers in Karen State have fled their homes to take refuge in camps along the border with Tak province in northern Thailand. About 3,400 people have taken shelter in the town of Mae Sot in recent days, Thai authorities said. Thousands more are stranded on the Myanmar side of the border, waiting to cross.

Karen rebel forces are now calling for a ‘no-fly zone’ around the Thai border amid fears that civilians could be targeted by air strikes carried out by the army.

Saw Taw Nee, the head of the KNU’s foreign affairs department, called for coordination between UN Security Council and the international community to establish the no-fly zone.

He said: ‘These airstrikes won’t target military bases but civilian bases as in schools, hospitals, houses and villages.’