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Timor Activity Update: 08 Feb 2000

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There is a continuing need to return those displaced persons in West Timor to their communities of origin in East Timor, in order for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development to begin. The safe and orderly return transportation of displaced persons is the responsibility of IOM by agreement and in close co-operation with UNHCR.
Summary

Over the last four days, IOM has helped a total of 822 displaced East Timorese to return home from West Timor.

On Tuesday 8 February, an IOM land convoy repatriated 158 people from the West Timor city of Atambua to the border town of Batugade. IOM provided transport to another 81 people from Dili to the eastern city of Baucau. Other IOM trucks carried another 10 returnees from Dili to the mountain village of Turiscai, and 9 more to the southern town of Same.

On 7 February, 215 people were transported from Atambua to Batugade. Some 42 others were moved from the Carantina processing centre in Dili to Ermera, 30 to Manatuto and 2 to Bobanaro.

On Saturday 5 February, the IOM-operated ship, Patricia Anne Hotung, arrived in Dili from Kupang carrying 449 returnees. About a third of the refugees came from Dili and a third from Baucau. Passengers on the Patricia Anne Hotung are now given colour-coded boarding cards according to their final destination to speed up their onward transport from Dili

On Saturday, IOM trucks also provided a shuttle bus service for some 420 people attending an open day at the Motaain-Batugade border. The event, staged on the beach in Motaain, attracted an estimated 10,000 people from both sides of the border, and was designed to improve cross-border information about conditions in East Timor by bringing together families and friends split by the conflict. After the event, which was widely hailed as a success, IOM trucks transported people to their homes in Balibo, Atabae, Palaka, Maliana and Dili.

As of 8 February, IOM has organised the return by land, sea and air of 86,374 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. The total number of returnees now stand at 136,047

Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 40,678 East Timorese by land from West Timor.

Total returns by sea

To date, IOM has returned 33,070 East Timorese by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia

Total returns by air

To date, IOM has returned 7,793 East Timorese from Kupang to Dili and 3,912 from other parts of Indonesia. A total of 921 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Australia.

Funding

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$ 13,710,988.

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.

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