Timor Emergency Update
Over the past three days, 4,750 people returned to East Timor - 2,500 on Saturday, 850 on Sunday and 1,400 on Monday.
The returns on Monday included 116 people who joined the airlift flight from the West Timor capital of Kupang to Dili in East Timor, 46 on a ferry, and 55 overland to the Ambeno enclave. Along the East Timor border, 122 people went through the Motaain-Batugade crossing, 422 through the Betun-Suai frontier and 648 via the newly opened Laktutus-Fatumean corridor.
Since the repatriation programme started on 8 October, 107,700 people have returned to East Timor.
A week ago, officials of the International Force in East Timor (Interfet) and the Indonesian army signed an agreement setting up a Joint Border Commission to speed up repatriation. However, no significant increase in returns has been reported.
Returns to the Ambeno enclave have gone down to a trickle since the arrest Wednesday of two returnees by Interfet troops. There were also unconfirmed reports of harassment of returnees.
Overland returns to East Timor remain short of the 4,000 daily average two weeks ago.
In the Kupang area, UNHCR teams continue to have difficulties getting people out of the camps controlled by militias. On Monday, only 19 refugees were taken out of Noelbaki camp, which shelters some 7,000 Timorese.
Aid workers discussed with officials in Kupang on Monday arrangements to improve health conditions at Tua Pukan camp, where six children and two adults were reported to have died of various unspecified ailments.
Tua Pukan, located 20 kilometres outside Kupang, hosts some 14,000 refugees, most of them families of militias and Timorese enlisted in the Indonesian army.
Also on Monday, two C130 aircraft of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) airlifted 10 tons of relief supplies at the start of a three-month programme to help UNHCR transport aid from Surabaya in East Java to Kupang. Three C130s from ASDF are involved in the programme, along with 150 personnel. The ASDF plans to fly five missions each week to Kupang.