Annan’s Special Representative meets Timor-Leste President as UN expands aid effort

8 June 2006 –

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste met the country’s President today for talks focusing on political and humanitarian efforts aimed at helping the country out of its current crisis, as United Nations agencies stepped up efforts to provide relief assistance to the more than 100,000 people internally displaced by the recent violence.

Speaking to reporters in New York, a UN spokesman said Special Representative Sukehiro Hasegawa had met with President Xanana Gusmão earlier in the day, the latest meetings between the two in a week that has seen Mr. Hasegawa engaged in several diplomatic moves in the country aimed at resolving the unrest that erupted after a third of the armed forces of the tiny nation were dismissed.

On the humanitarian front, UN agencies are daily expanding their efforts to provide relief assistance to the displaced, with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) planning to begin a mass measles vaccination campaign for children aged 6 months to 14 years early next week, said the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Protection, food, water and sanitation, health and shelter have been identified as the priority areas by the Humanitarian Action Group, which includes United Nations agencies and national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) meeting under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Labour, Social Welfare and Reintegration,” it added.

According to inter-agency assessments, more than 71,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living at 65 locations in the Timorese capital Dili, while the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) estimates that a further 60 to 70 camps housing between 35,000 and 40,000 people are scattered throughout the country.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is providing comprehensive food packages to vulnerable families and IDPs and today alone distributed nearly 80 metric tonnes of rice, corn/soy blend, oil, sugar and high-energy biscuits in the camps in and around Dili.

Water deliveries to IDPs are also increasing daily, from 74,000 litres on 4 June to 143,000 litres today. UNICEF is involved in this, as also is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who are working with the national Red Cross, OCHA said.

An inter-agency Health Promotion Group led by UNICEF has begun hygiene work in the camps, while the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF have also begun to provide antenatal services in the camps. Tents, plastic sheeting and other supplies relief items provided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for up to 30,000 people have also begun arriving.

Related Stories