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NGOs Dealing With Influx of Cambodians From Thailand

Cambodian migrant workers get off a Thai truck upon their arrival from Thailand at a Cambodia-Thailand's international border gate in Poipet, Cambodia, June 17, 2014.
Local NGOs have set up charities and hotlines in an effort to help with the continued exodus of Cambodian workers from Thailand.

An estimated 190,000 Cambodians have fled Thailand in recent weeks, fearful of a crackdown on illegal workers in the wake of a May 22 coup by the Thai military.

At least six NGOs are working at the border crossing at Poipet, in Banteay Meanchey province, providing food and other aid to the fleeing workers.

One of them, Caram Cambodia, on Wednesday established a charity fund and a hotline for assist workers returning.

“We started today, and we are calling for generous persons to contribute in order to share food and some goods to the incoming workers,” Ya Navuth, executive director of the organization, said. The numbers to call to help are 010-949-914 and 010-961-427.

Korsum Saroeut, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, said other NGOs, including World Vision and the International Organization for Migration, are also helping workers return.

“It is smooth, actually,” he said. “But there’s still a problem of toilets for them.”

Up to 400,000 Cambodians were thought to be working in Thailand until the May coup.

Authorities have since sought to quell rumors of violent crackdowns on workers that have spread through the Cambodian community in Thailand.

At the same time Thai security forces have been forcibly deporting workers and reportedly exacting bribes in the process.