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Timor Activity Update: 11 Jan 2000

There is an urgent need to facilitate the voluntary return of an estimated 120,000 East Timorese displaced in West Timor to their communities of origin 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.

Christmas and New Year celebrations and the Muslim observance of Ramadan have slowed down return operations to East Timor. There were no return movements on 8,9 and 10 January because of celebrations marking the end of the month of Ramadan. On 11 January, IOM repatriated by land and sea close to 673 East Timorese. One land convoy from Atambua (WT) to Batugade (ET) took place, with IOM providing transportation to 203 East Timorese returnees. Another land convoy was organized by IOM from Betun (WT) to Wala. IOM providing transportation and assistance for an additional 70 returnees. In addition, 400 East Timorese were returned by sea from Kupang to Dili on board an IOM chartered ship, the Patricia Anne Hotung.

As of 11 January 2000, IOM has organised the return by land, sea and air of 80,589 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. Over the last three months, some 128,000 refugees have returned voluntarily in an organized or spontaneous way to East Timor,

Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 35,799 East Timorese by land from West Timor.

Total returns by sea

To date, IOM has returned 32,272 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 813 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Australia.


IOM has made an appeal to the international community for US$25,565,000 for its Timor activities. This includes US$23,250,000 for the return assistance of displaced people to East Timor. So far a total of US$13,716,515 has been pledged by Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and ECHO. IOM currently faces a shortfall of US$11,848,491.

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