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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK


UK Politics

UK pledges £3.2m aid to East Timor

Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes

The government is to send £3.2m in humanitarian aid to East Timor immediately, it has revealed.

International Development Secretary Clare Short said the money would go towards helping restore the United Nations mission so aid can be put in place to help the return of refugees.

East Timor
The money will also be used to help the UN conduct urgent assessments of needs on the ground and identify the vulnerable people there.

Ms Short said: "It is essential that we move immediately to help relieve the suffering in East Timor now that the Indonesian Government has agreed to let UN troops in."

The violence in East Timor has forced an estimated 300,000 people to flee their homes and has led to many living in hiding within mountain areas.


[ image: Clare Short:
Clare Short: "Essential that we move immediately"
Due to the difficult access to the region, reports have only begun to reach humanitarian agencies about the problems in the area.

There are now reports of dwindling food and water supplies and an increase in health problems.

A further 200,000 refugees are said to have fled to West Timor.

Part of the aid from the UK will be available to help the UN set up the transitional international administration for East Timor.

That will accelerate the process of recovery once UN-approved multinational forces have restored order.

The rest of the contribution will provide a team of humanitarian specialists who will work with humanitarian agencies and alongside the Gurkhas when they arrive in East Timor as part of the international peacekeeping force.



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Internet Links


Department for International Development

East Timor Action Network

Government of Indonesia

UNAMET

BBC's Indonesian service


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