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Nearly 175 Displaced Timorese Families Return Home

Nearly 175 Timorese Families Displaced In 2006 Fighting To Return Home - UN

30 April 2008 - Nearly 175 families uprooted in the violence that swept through Timor-Leste three years ago are set to return to their homes today, a move welcomed by the United Nations as a breakthrough in efforts to tackle the issue internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the young nation that the world body helped shepherd to independence in 2002.

The violence that engulfed Timor-Leste in April and May of 2006, attributed to differences between the eastern and western regions, led to the deaths of at least 37 people and large-scale displacement.

The United Nations estimates that there are some 100,000 IDPs in the country. About one third of those displace in 2006 fled to camps in the capital, Dili, while the rest found temporary housing with relatives in the districts.

The Seminario Maior Fatumeta Camp in Dili will close today after 173 families return to their homes. Each of the returning families will receive a grant from the Ministry of Social Solidarity to help them rebuild or repair their homes. In addition, each person will receive 16 kilograms of rice.

The closure of the camp is "the first significant breakthrough," said Pierre Bessuges, head of the UN's humanitarian aid office. "It's a strong sign of how the country is recovering from the violence that tore the capital apart in 2006."

Noting that the process of reintegrating IDPs back into their communities is a long process, Mr. Bessuges urged the country's international partners to support the $33.5 million humanitarian appeal launched last month by the UN and non-governmental organizations working in Timor-Leste to help the country's most vulnerable, including IDPs.


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