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Timor-Leste: 100,000 estimated displaced; UNHCR emergency response latest

Briefing notes

Timor-Leste: 100,000 estimated displaced; UNHCR emergency response latest

2 June 2006

UNHCR's emergency response to help tens of thousands of people displaced by violence in Timor-Leste is moving ahead with the scheduled departure this weekend of an emergency team that will reinforce staff already on the ground.

We're also planning an airlift of aid supplies from our stockpiles in Amman, Jordan, where we have lightweight family tents, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and other basic needs for the displaced people in Timor-Leste. The airlift is being organised right now and we expect the first flight to leave shortly.

In a phased approach and in a joint effort with other United Nations agencies, international organisations and NGOs, UNHCR is sending shelter and non-food supplies for up to 30,000 people displaced by the violence and looting. Other aid agencies are also sending supplies. An estimated 100,000 people are displaced in Timor-Leste. About 65,000 are living in some 30 squalid encampments in Dili itself, while a further 35,000 have fled to the countryside.

UNHCR, in coordination with the government and other agencies, is expected to establish new, planned camps for the displaced where they can live in better conditions and assistance will be easier to deliver until the security situation improves and they can return to their homes. UNHCR is discussing security for the new camps with the authorities, as this will be an important factor in reassuring the displaced.

To boost our warehousing capacity for the upcoming airlift, three large portable warehouses will be transferred from our logistics warehouse in Medan, on the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra. We'll also bring 1,400 stoves from Medan.

The UNHCR emergency team leaving this weekend will include camp planning specialists as well as logistics, administration, protection and community services personnel. UNHCR has called on its operational reserves to initially fund the operation, which will cost an estimated US$3.7 million. But these funds will need to be replenished rapidly.