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Emergency Help For East Timor

New Zealand will provide $500,000 to support international efforts to save lives in East Timor, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"The tragic circumstances in Timor demand our urgent attention. The violence has sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes. There are serious shortages of food, water and other essential supplies.

"New Zealanders are understandably upset and concerned for the wellbeing of the East Timorese people and have urged us to act.

"We hope that, with the agreement of the Indonesian Government, a humanitarian emergency operation can begin immediately to get supplies to these people. It is important that they get help quickly and that we can restore some decency to their lives.

"The United Nations, working with a number of countries and donor agencies, is co-ordinating the relief effort which is an integral part of international efforts to restore order and help realise the outcome of the vote for independence on 30 August," Mrs Shipley said.

The New Zealand Government will provide $350,000 to the United Nations as a contribution toward their emergency relief efforts. The Government will also make available $150,000 to support the activities that New Zealand aid agencies are organising to assist the people of East Timor.

"Through aid agencies, New Zealanders have been playing an important role in providing relief assistance and in the longer term task of rebuilding East Timor.

"We want to work together with aid agencies to strengthen their role and develop long-term solutions to restore decency to the lives of the East Timorese people. It is important that we act quickly to repair the damage caused to these people by the violence and destruction in the region," Mrs Shipley said.

ENDS


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