Subject: At Least 547 Refugees Have Died In Indon W Timor: Governor

Associated Press July 19, 2000

At least 547 Refugees Have Died In Indonesian W Timor: Governor

JAKARTA (AP)--At least 547 East Timorese refugees sheltering in squalid camps throughout Indonesian-controlled West Timor have died in the past nine months, the province's governor said Wednesday.

Most of the deaths were due to malaria, respiratory problems and various natural disasters including massive flooding, the region's governor, Piet Tallo, said in a telephone interview.

More than 250,000 East Timorese were forced to flee their homes after violence broke out there last year. About 150,000 of them have already returned to their half-island homeland, which borders West Timor.

However, the other 100,000 people still remain in the camps despite efforts to encourage them to return home.

Despite the deaths, Tallo praised the efforts of international emergency relief agencies operating in the region, saying that without them many more people would have died.

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