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The Church and Caritas Helping in Timor Leste

Friday 26 May, 2006
Press release: East Timor #1

The Church and Caritas Helping in Timor Leste

As rebel soldiers and gangs of youths in Timor Leste (East Timor) continue to cause violence in and around the country’s capital, Dili, the Catholic Church, Caritas agencies and other NGO’s are working to assist those who have fled from their homes due to the unrest.

Many of those who have fled the violence have taken refuge in church compounds where the Church and Caritas Dili have been providing shelter and other basic necessities.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s International Programmes Manager, Tim Chiswell says that due to the Church being such a prominent part of life in the country, many people go to them for safety. “During the violence of the late 1990’s many East Timorese took shelter in Churches and they are returning, due to this recent outbreak of violence.”

With a staff of 40, Caritas Dili will be working in and around the capital, assisting the churches with providing food and other necessities to those who have been displaced as a result of the conflict.

Mr Chiswell said there will be coordination meetings taking place today between Caritas Dili, Caritas Australia who also have staff in Dili, and other NGOs, “These meetings will assess the situation and help NGO’s provide a coordinated response towards helping those in need.”

“From there, the next step will be to look at the level of support Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand can offer,” said Mr Chiswell.


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