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Timor Activity Update: 15 Feb 2000

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There is a continuing need to return displaced people 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 people 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 1,947 displaced East Timorese to return home from West Timor. Today, Tuesday 15 February, an IOM land convoy repatriated 472 people from the West Timor city of Atambua to the border town of Batugade. IOM also arranged for 90 returnees to travel from Dili to the Eastern city of Los Palos. Another 74 were transported to the mountain town of Aileu. This morning the IOM-operated ship the Patricia Anne Hotung docked in Dili, bringing another 179 refugees from Kupang. Yesterday, 14 February, 1026 returnees crossed the border at Batugade in IOM trucks. Another 94 were transported from Dili's Carantina processing centre to the mountain town of Atsabe. On Saturday 12 February, the Patricia Anne Hotung docked in Dili with 267 returnees from Kupang. Another 88 returnees were transported from Dili to the north eastern coastal town of Manatuto. Another 44 went on to Baucau. On Saturday, a major reunion of families split by the East Timor conflict took place on the beach at the Batugade-Motaain border. The event, designed to improve cross-border information about conditions in East Timor to encourage returns, attracted over 13,000 people. IOM helped to manage the crowds, providing metal detectors for Interfet and TNI security checks, colour coding participants' index fingers to record cross-border movements, providing medical services and deploying shuttle transport to and from the event on both sides of the border.

As of February 15, IOM has organised the return by land, sea and air of 90,578 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. The total number of returnees now stand at 140,251.

Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 44,411 East Timorese by land from West Timor.

Total returns by sea

To date, IOM has returned 33,516 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 3,937 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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