Over the last three days, IOM has helped a total of 1,673 displaced East Timorese to return home from West Timor.
Today, Friday 24 March, an IOM land convoy repatriated 279 people from the West Timor city of Atambua to the border town of Batugade. Secondary movements from Dili included 34 people to Ermera,, 21 to Same, 13 to Aileu, 6 to Liquisa and 3 to Baucau.
On Thursday 23 March IOM transported 375 people from the southern city of Betun to Salele, near Suai. Another 61 travelled from Atambua to Batugade. A fllight from Sydney brought another 66 returnees to Dili. Secondary movements from Dili included 65 people to Maubisse, 61 people to Atsabe, 60 people to Manututo, and 40 people to Aileu.
Also on 23 March, some 4,000 people attended an IOM-facilitated family reunion at Bobameto on the Oecussi border. Another Motaain-Batugade reunion will take place tomorrow. The next Oecussi reunion is scheduled for the port of Wini next Tuesday.
On Wednesday 22 March, 490 people arrived in Dili from Kupang aboard the IOM-operated ship the Patricia Anne Hotung. Another 355 travelled from Atambua to Batugade. A further 47 travelled from the West Timor town of Kefa to Oecussi.
At the border the UN Peacekeeping Force (PKF) has lowered the security rating from high to medium, but reported an exchange of fire between a PKF patrol and a militia group near Maliana on Thursday.
As of March 24, IOM and UNHCR have organised the return by land, sea and air of 109,154* East Timorese from West Timor, from other parts of Indonesia and from Australia. The total number of returnees now stands at 155,280.
- Total returns by land: 56,849 by land from West Timor.
- Total returns by sea: 34,355 by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia
- Total returns by air: 17,950 by air from Kupang, other parts of Indonesia and 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.