Timor-Leste: Second wave of relief supplies to start early next week

Briefing Notes, 23 June 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 23 June 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The second wave of dispatching UNHCR relief supplies bound for Timor-Leste is due to get under way early next week. On Monday 26 June, a DC-10 chartered aircraft carrying 63 tonnes of shelter supplies lightweight tents, plastic sheeting and blankets is scheduled to depart Amman, Jordan bound for our staging point in Darwin in northern Australia. The emergency supplies will then be transferred to a container ship heading for the Timor-Leste capital of Dili on 6 July, arriving the following day. On Tuesday, 71 tonnes of lightweight tents and plastic sheeting are expected to be shipped from our regional stockpile in Dubai to Dili arriving 18 July. This will bring to a total of 353 tonnes of supplies shipped by UNHCR to Dili to help up to 30,000 of the 145,000 displaced in the troubled country (78,000 outside Dili, and 67,000 in the capital).

Yesterday (22 June), UNHCR completed construction of the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp at Dili airport with a total of 581 tents now pitched at the site, including 59 tents adjacent to the Meteorological Bureau. A wire fence around the perimeter of the main camp and lighting has also been installed. Construction of toilets, showers and water points is under way and is expected be finished within the next week. Some 4,600 people originally registered by site volunteer organizers have moved into the tents over the past 10 days.

So far, UNHCR has distributed more than 1,700 tents to some 20 sites in Dili and surrounding areas. In addition, some 17,000 blankets, 1,969 plastic sheets, 960 jerry cans, 55 kitchen sets and 155 stoves have been distributed to the displaced.

Initially, the focus of our operations was Dili but now delivery of relief items to surrounding districts is well under way. Following the distribution of some 350 tents and plastic sheets to Metinaro last week, we sent 50 tents, 535 blankets and 250 plastic sheets to Auturo Island yesterday as part of an inter-agency consignment of relief aid. Over the last few days in the Hera area, 25 kilometres to the east of Dili, UNHCR distributed aid to two communities (including easterners and westerners). At Hera port, 305 families are living in the fenced marine compound in buildings as well as camping under plastic sheets and in makeshift huts of leaves and palm fronds. UNHCR has provided tents, blankets, plastic sheets and jerry cans to the community of mainly 'easterners'.

Elsewhere in the Hera district, UNHCR has assisted the local population (considered 'westerners') which have fled their villages to the surrounding hills. Some 1,000 blankets, 600 plastic sheets and 600 jerry cans have been delivered to Mota Ulun to assist people sheltering under trees and in makeshift huts in the Sukaer Laran, Ailok Laran and Moris Foun sub villages. Further distribution is expected to be carried out shortly in remaining sub-villages near Hera.

We are liaising closely with the ICRC and other agencies over shelter and protection needs for the 78,000 people displaced outside of Dili. Yesterday UNHCR was part of an inter-agency mission to Maliana, Suai and Aileu.