Over the last four days, IOM has helped a total of 778 displaced East Timorese to return home from West Timor.
Today, Tuesday 7 March, an IOM land convoy repatriated 35 people from the West Timor city of Atambua to the border town of Batugade. Another 83 returnees arrived in Dili aboard a flight from the South Kalimantan city of Banjarmasin. Secondary movements from Dili included 133 people to Aileu, 92 people to Maubisse, 50 people to Viqueque and 10 to Manututo.
On Monday 6 March the UN Peace Keeping Force (PKF) raised the security rating of the entire border area to high, following a series of shooting incidents and incursions into East Timor by armed militia groups. IOM convoys will now only move in daylight hours in border locations.
On the same day, IOM transported 389 people from the Atambua camps to Batugade. Secondary movements from Dili included 79 people to Los Palos, 3 to Manututo and 8 to Manufahi.
On Saturday 4 March, 271 people arrived in Dili aboard the IOM-operated ship the Patricia Anne Hotung. The Saturday family reunion at Motaain finally went ahead, but with considerably reduced numbers. Some 2000 people attended from East Timor and only 260 from West Timor.
The late decision to go ahead with the event, bad weather and fear of trouble following the disturbances of two weeks ago contributed to the low turnout.
As of March 7, IOM and UNHCR have organised the return by land, sea and air of 97,128 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. The total number of returnees now stands at 145,321.
Total returns by land: 49,730 by land from West Timor.
Total returns by sea: 34,013 by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia
Total returns by air: 7,793 from Kupang to Dili, 3,937 from the rest of Indonesia , 1,183 from Australia.
IOM has received support from the international community to fund its Timor activities. Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and ECHO financed IOM's return movements to East Timor totalling US$ 14,210,988.
Now that the emergency phase is winding down, efforts are concentrated on post-conflict rehabilitation through a range of interrelated projects such as the return of qualified nationals, reintegration of demobilized combatants, mobile information and referral services, community based rehabilitation and migration management capacity building. These activities form an integral part of the international humanitarian communities' response to the crisis.