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Timor Activity Update: 21 Jan 2000

There is a continuing need to return up to 120,000 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.

Over the last three days, IOM has provided return assistance to a total of 680 displaced East Timorese. On 21 January, 101 returnees were transported on IOM-chartered trucks from Atambua to Batugade. On 20 January, two land convoys were organized by IOM; from Atambua to Batugade with 197 returnees and from Betun to Suai with 213 persons. On 19 January, another IOM convoy repatriated 61 East Timorese from Sukabitetek to Belulik via the Laktutus border crossing. All convoys were escorted to the border crossing points by Indonesian military (TNI)

Return operations from Australia have resumed. On 20 January, 82 East Timorese were flown from Darwin to Dili and 26 from Sydney to Dili on board two IOM chartered flights.

As part of the on-going transition process, IOM is delivering food on a weekly basis to the Falintil. Beside food, their members have requested that civilian clothing be provided to some 1,100 men currently in uniform. Several NGOs' will provide the clothing, which IOM will transport to the Aileu cantonment.

As of 21 January 2000, IOM has organised the return by land, sea and air of 82,356 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. Over the last three months, close to 130,000 refugees have returned voluntarily in an organized or spontaneous way to East Timor,

Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 37,458 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 921 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM 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$ 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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