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Timor: 155,000+ back from West Timor

Briefing notes

Timor: 155,000+ back from West Timor

24 March 2000

More than 155,000 East Timorese refugees have returned home from West Timor, since the UNHCR/IOM repatriation programme began in October. Around 500 went back on Thursday and some 300 returned from the border areas today. Departures from Kupang area camps, holding mostly pro-Indonesian East Timorese, are also continuing. Around 400 refugees have arrived from these camps at the transit centre in Kupang and are scheduled to leave for Dili next week.

The 60 East Timorese - ex-soldiers in the Indonesian army who along with their families had arrived in Dili last Wednesday - are now moving on to their original homes.

As security conditions improve in East Timor, UNHCR and its partners are stepping up distribution of shelter materials. So far, 4,187 shelter kits have been handed out. Each contains timber, roof sheeting, cement, nails and tools. This year UNHCR plans to distribute 35,000 shelter kits.