Today, IOM organized the safe and orderly return of 508 East Timorese from the area of Halilulik/Laktutus, south of Atambua, to Fato Mean, in East Timor. The IOM convoy was escorted by United Nations Military Observers in West Timor and by INTERFET in East Timor. Returnees were taken to a reception centre in Fato Mean. This is the third border crossing point to be opened for returns after Atambua/Motaain/Batugade and Betun/Suai.
Returns from the area of Atambua continue. Today, 281 East Timorese arrived in Batugade on board 14 IOM chartered trucks. Convoys were escorted to the border crossing by Indonesian military and police.
372 East Timorese were transported from a staging point in Betun to a reception centre located close to the border in East Timor. Onward transportation to Suai is provided by UNHCR.
As of 30 November, IOM has organized the return by land, sea and air of 58,798 East Timorese from West Timor, from Indonesia and from Australia. So far, close to 110,000 people have returned in an organized or in a spontaneous way to East Timor.
Total returns by land
To date, IOM has returned 20,643 East Timorese by land from West Timor.
Total returns by sea.
To date, IOM has returned 27,423 East Timorese by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia
Total returns by air
To date, IOM has returned 6,718 East
Timorese from Kupang to Dili and 3,672 from other parts of Indonesia.
A total of 342 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Darwin to Dili. They are part of a larger group of approximately 1,500 persons who had been evacuated from the UNAMET compound in Dili in September 1999.
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 of displaced people to East Timor. IOM urgently needs an estimated US$12,250,000 to cover the cost of operations until the end of this year. So far, US$ 4,317,249 has been pledged. IOM currently faces a shortfall of US$ 7,932,751.
IOM's mid- to long-term plans are to implement programmes in the areas of return of qualified nationals, migration management capacity building, mobile information and referral services to strengthen the rehabilitation and recovery of Timor as well as, in cooperation with UN agencies, community rehabilitation