East Timor's brave vote for freedom on August 30 has left this small Asian nation in tatters. The killings and destruction of homes and other property by rampaging anti-independence militia have severed traditional lifelines for survival - food, shelter, water supply and health care
As thousands of refugees emerge from hiding places in the hills,
they face yet another round of dependence on strangers - this time on United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian agencies.
The challenge is to rally sufficient goodwill in our global neighbourhood to feed, protect and help the East Timorese rebuild their lives.
Most of East Timor's 890,000 people are starting from ground zero. More than 500,000 people were displaced by the violence. Another 150,000 have taken refuge in West Timor.
Marauding militia from the Indonesian-supported anti-independence movement left the seaside capital, Dili and other large towns, in ruins.
Agricultural land, crops and livestock were abandoned as rural people fled their holdings. The rainy season is approaching and food stocks have been destroyed or looted.
Meanwhile, rural folk under the protection of UN soldiers are reluctant to go home until their survival can be assured.
The United Nations has inherited responsibility for putting this tiny nation back on its feet. The UN has appealed forUS$135.5 million to cover for the cost of food, emergency shelter, health care, water supply and sanitation services over the next six months.
Among UN agencies and non governmental organizations now engaged in East Timor are:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
World Food Programme (WFP)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),
World Health Organization (WHO)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
OCHA, The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Catholic Relief Services
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
ACF, AMI, GOAL, IMC, MDM, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), TimorAid.
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