Subject: LUSA: Some 133,000 now displaced, senior UN official warns

19-06-2006 21:03:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8096615 Temas:

East Timor: Some 133,000 now displaced, senior UN official warns

Dili, June 19 (Lusa) - The total number of people who have fled their homes in East Timor fearing further bloodshed after weeks of deadly turmoil in the new nation now stands at 133,000, the senior UN refugee official in Dili said Monday.

In a communiqué sent to Lusa, Finn Reske-Nielson, also coordinator of the humanitarian relief operation in Timor, said the latest estimate of people holed up in refugee camps in and around the capital was 15,000 up on the previous figure.

Most of Dili's 130,000-odd residents have left their homes during weeks of violence that erupted later April and which claimed at least 37 lives, according to the UN.

Some 55 makeshift refugee camps, many in Catholic churches and other religious institutions, are housing most of these displaced Timorese, said the UN official, warning that food supplies in many parts of Timor were in danger of running out.

Additionally, the near-total cessation of economic activity is having serious effects on access to essential goods, such as cooking fuel and medicines, and this situation could deteriorate unless a swift resolution to Timor's political and military crisis is found, said Reske-Nielson.

The UN, in conjunction with the Dili authorities and various NGOs, has created an Inter-agency Group for Humanitarian Assistance to coordinate emergency relief operations and ensure food security and access to drinking water and healthcare for over a tenth of Timor` one million population who find themselves in overcrowded camps.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told Lusa that the UN Security Council will approve on Tuesday a two-month extension of the current skeleton UNOTIL mission in Timor.

Although the Dili government has urged the UN to speedily approve deployment of a troop and police security force to help quell disorder in Timor and ensure stability ahead of general elections in 2007, the world body has said it will not send such a security force to the new nation for at least six months.

Over 2,000 peacekeeping troops and police from Australia, Portugal, Malaysia and New Zealand are currently serving in Timor under bilateral accords with the Dili government.

This international force has largely restored order to the Timorese capital since first taking to the streets over three weeks ago.

EL/JP/CJB.

Lusa

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