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Immediate humanitarian aid for Timor Leste

27 May 2006 Media Statement

Immediate humanitarian aid for Timor Leste

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that the Government will immediately provide $500,000 in humanitarian aid to the people of Timor Leste.

“The loss of law and order in the capital Dili has serious consequences for all Timor Leste citizens. While our troops are helping to restore order, it’s also important we act to address humanitarian needs.

“Our contribution will be made via the New Zealand Red Cross and will be used to supply basic needs such as shelter, water and medical care.

“The Red Cross is well established in East Timor. Its network of volunteers throughout the country can make sure assistance gets to those who are most in need.

“This is an initial contribution. Our international aid agency, NZAID, will be monitoring the situation over the coming days and weeks to see whether more assistance is needed.

“New Zealand embassy staff in Dili also have provision to spend NZAID funds to help local communities recover from the effects of the conflict.”
New Zealand has a $4 million annual aid programme with Timor Leste.

Helen Clark said the deployment of up to 200 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to Dili was proceeding smoothly.

The 42-strong infantry platoon was due to arrive before nightfall in Dili, while a company of 124 infantry personnel left New Zealand this afternoon for Townsville, before travelling on to Dili.

The New Zealand contingent is part of an Australian-led international stabilisation force, which also includes troops from Portugal and Malaysia.

Helen Clark said the situation in Timor Este was still highly unstable, with further violence reported today.

ENDS

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