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East Timor: Dili 'calm but tense'

Briefing notes

East Timor: Dili 'calm but tense'

3 September 1999

UNHCR staff on the ground say the situation was calm but tense in the last 24 hours in Dili. Anti-independence militias have deployed on almost every street corner and movement in and out of Dili is restricted.

UNHCR staff are in a race against time to provide urgently needed assistance to displaced people.

Staff are also meeting with police to guarantee security of aid workers delivering relief supplies in the interior. There is a lot of fear and intimidation in many places.

Of the 50,000 to 55,000 displaced people in East Timor, about 30,000 are in Dili. About 600 of the displaced in Dili are in the vicinity of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) compound and the rest are temporarily sheltered in churches and schools, to which they were transferred earlier this week by UNHCR after initially seeking shelter at the UN compound.

UNHCR and other aid agencies are providing rice, beans, dried fish, sugar, salt, mats, blankets and kitchen sets to the displaced.