Indonesia + 1 more

Catholic Relief Services Responds to Indonesia and East Timor Crisis: Update December 1999

Situation Report
Originally published
Catholic Relief Services continues to assist thousands of people in East Timor and Indonesia. Although this situation is calming, there are still many needs.
East Timor:

To date, Catholic Relief Services, in coordination with Caritas Australia and Caritas East Timor, has reached 48,000 returning individuals with relief assistance. In Dili, the capital of East Timor, the agency has helped distribute 6,000 metric tons of rice to 72,000 people.

In East Timor's second largest city of Bacau, Catholic Relief Services has established an office and continues to distribute food and non-food packages. As many as 25,000 families have received packages which also include seeds and tools for the planting season.

Struggling to get back on their feet, farmers are planting seeds for the new planting season. These seeds were part of two relief shipments.

West Timor, Indonesia:

More than 30,000 refugees still in West Timor are receiving relief assistance from Catholic Relief Services. The agency continues to work with local partners YASSKA and YKBST, and has established offices in the towns of Kupang and Atambua.

To date, Catholic Relief Services has distributed the following items in 55 locations:

  • Rice for 300,000 people
  • 50 metric tons of mung beans
  • 22 metric tons of sugar and salt
  • 11 metric tons of oil
Additionally, various amounts of non-food items distributed include:
  • plates
  • mugs
  • water containers
A large shipment of supplies has also reached Atambua. Catholic Relief Services is now distributing the three-month supply of food and non-food items for 30,000 refugees. Supplies include plastic sheeting, food, household items, blankets, and basic medicines.

Background of the Situation:

The respected moderate Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid has begun his term as Indonesia's fourth president with the opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri as vice president. The same Assembly that elected the president and "Mega" also voted to accept the pro-independence results of the East Timor referendum.

East Timor, as a new nation, is starting from scratch. From a Portuguese colony to an Indonesian province, East Timor has seen 200,000 people killed in its land over the last 25 years. Now as a newly independent nation, it has no government, no laws, no civil service, and no police. Adding to this, its infrastructure has been devastated by the militias that reacted in fury when the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence.

At the end of October, the Security Council created the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor or UNTAET to help run East Timor for the next several years. In Dili and in other towns of East Timor, shelter still remains a critical need for those returning. Food, water, wood and building materials for shelter - the basic necessities of life - are still in very short supply. Up to 75 percent of the homes in some towns have been damaged.

Copyright=A91999 CRS