Fire Destroys Nearly 70 Moken Tribe Homes

PHANG NGA — Hundreds of Moken tribe members were evacuated after nearly 70 homes on Koh Surin were destroyed in a major fire Sunday night.

At around 9:30pm, officials were alerted to a fire breaking out in the Phang Nga province island’s Moken Village. Under heavy winds, the fire quickly spread and destroyed about 65 wooden homes, sending residents running for their lives, according to Gov. Siripat Pattanakul.

It took firefighters over an hour to put out the fire. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Most residents, especially the women and children, were evacuated to Ao Chong Kad, across the channel separating North Surin Island and South Surin Island.

Witnesses told the authorities that they saw a resident taking a long-tailed boat into a house for repairs before it exploded and fire appeared.

Phang Nga Naval Base vessel HTMS Narathiwat (OPV-512) is bringing food and medical supplies to aid the Moken.

The Moken is a seafaring tribe of Austronesian people who settled in countries around the Andaman Sea.