Over the last four days, IOM has helped a total of 1,452 displaced East Timorese to return home from West Timor. Today, Tuesday 21 March, an IOM land convoy repatriated 186 people from the West Timor city of Atambua to the border town of Batugade. Secondary movements from Dili included 87 people to Aileu, 81 to Los Palos, 62 to Ermera and 55 to Metinaro.
On Monday 20 March IOM transported 451 people from the Atambua camps to Batugade. Secondary movements from Dili included 130 people to Same and one person to Oecussi by helicopter.
On Saturday 18 March, 343 people arrived in Dili aboard the IOM-operated ship the Patricia Anne Hotung. Another 229 travelled from the southern West Timor city of Betun to Salele, near Suai.
The family reunion took place at Motaain on Saturday, attracting about 5,000 people. The day before, some 5,500 people attended a similar event at Napan on the West Timor border with the Ambeno enclave.
At the border, the security situation remains tense, with the Indonesian army (TNI) and the UN Peacekeeping Force (PKF) stepping up patrols to discourage militia incursions. The weekend also saw a number of security incidents in Dili, with attacks on several hotels by gangs of drunken youths. A Jordanian PKF officer was stabbed by two men in central Dili, who fled when he fired two shots.
As of March 21, IOM and UNHCR have organised the return by land, sea and air of 101,092 East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. The total number of returnees now stands at 153,457.
Total returns by land: 52,797 by land from West Timor.
Total returns by sea: 35,199 by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia
Total returns by air: 7,793 from Kupang to Dili, 4,120 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.
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