18th June, 2014

Tens of thousands of undocumented Cambodian migrant workers have been pouring across the Thai-Cambodian border after Thailand's military junta ruled earlier this month that they were required to leave the country.

Cambodians being deported across the Thai-Cambodian border. PICTURE: Samaritan's Purse

At least 142,000 people have reportedly crossed the border or been transported across by police and left on the streets of the Cambodian town of Poipet since 11th June including some who were reportedly fired from jobs and sent home after confusion over whether the ruling applied to legal as well as illegal workers.

Samaritan's Purse, which is helping those being deported in providing emergency food, water and shelter, estimates between 35 to 40 per cent of deportees are women and children.

"Many have been without food, water of shelter for several days," the organisation says in a statement. "There is no sanitation, and people are sleeping in markets and on the streets. Local systems are completely overwhelmed."

The organisation is working alongside the International Organisation for Migration which is coordinating transport so people can return to their homes in Cambodia.

A Samaritan's Purse spokesperson in Poipet says it is unknown how long the emergency will continue.

"Local systems are completely overwhelmed and this is a crisis that could result in loss of life, instability, and longer-term displacement if not handled well."

~ www.samaritanspurse.org.au