Subject: UN Says Timorese Refugess Children Suffer Malnutrition

Associated Press January 18, 2000

UN Says Timorese Refugess Children Suffer Malnutrition

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--An estimated one in four refugee children housed in camps inside West Timor are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition, according to a UNICEF survey released Tuesday.

The report examined a region in West Timor known as the Belu District, which houses about 100,000 refugees who fled East Timor after pro-Indonesian militias went on killing and looting rampages to protest the territory's August vote for independence.

The U.N. Children's Fund said 15% of those housed in camps in the district are children under the age of five. Four percent of them are severely malnourished while another 20% suffer from moderate malnutrition, the survey found.

"These children and their families have had it tough for four solid months now," Stephen Woodhouse, UNICEF's Representative in Indonesia said in a statement. "They need our help quickly."

In response to the survey's findings, UNICEF said it plans to expand the distribution of a nutritional supplement known as Vitadele, which is already being issued in smaller quantities.

The United Nations has expressed deep concern about conditions in the West Timor camps, where militias are still known to be harassing and intimidating those who fled East Timor.

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