Subject: AAP: Life in Dili Stabilizes, Aus Gov

August 9, 2000, Wednesday Conditions in Dili, Timor, becoming settled - DFAT

CANBERRA, Aug 9 AAP - Life in the East Timor capital of Dili was now largely stabilised, with increasing goods and services, but safety in border areas remained fickle, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said today.

Apart from militia activity in border areas, disease remained rife and medical facilities limited.

With a growing number of military and civilian Australians in the fledgling country to Australia's north, DFAT today issued an update of the security situation in East Timor.

"The security situation in East Timor has largely stabilised," the department said in a statement.

"However, Australians are advised to keep themselves fully informed of prevailing security conditions, particularly in areas near the border between East Timor and Indonesia.

"Travellers should exercise care and maintain a high level of personal security awareness, particularly at night."

It said Australians who intended travelling outside Dili should seek advice from the Australian Mission in Dili or appropriate UNTAET agencies, regarding security procedures, checkpoints and road conditions before doing so.

Extensive damage to infrastructure remained across the territory, including in Dili.

"The availability of services in Dili such as public transport, shops, restaurants and hotels are increasing. However, many services outside Dili are non-existent," it said.

"Local telecommunications services have been extensively damaged and some services are being restored.

"International calls are now possible into and out of Dili where local lines are operational. A country code (670) and area code for Dili (390) have been established."

The advice said mobile telephone services were available in Dili through the Australian Telstra mobile network but a Telstra SIM card was required to use the service.

Outside Dili, communication was only possible by satellite phone.

The department said UNTAET had recently banned travel to certain western border sectors due to militia activity. Medical facilities remained limited.

"Malaria and dengue fever are prevalent in most parts of the country.

"Tuberculosis is prevalent and rabies and Japanese encephalitis viruses are known to exist.

"Common tropical illnesses including diarrhoea and skin diseases can be a problem and Australians should bring a supply of basic medicines."

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