Construction starts with the rainy season
4 October 1999
East Timor - One of the most visible signs of the post-election violence is the destruction of buildings throughout the country. In Dili alone, MSF has approximated over 95% of the homes as uninhabitable in their current state. Assisting in the redevelopment of shelter for the local population is a priority. According to the UNHCR update, the first phase of shelter construction should commence in the next ten days with the distribution of plastic sheeting to the communities to allow them to construct some form of shelter. MSF is already distributing plastic sheeting and other supplies to people in Dili. A second UNHCR phase shall follow which should see the distribution of lumber, corrugated metal and other supplies essential to a more permanent shelter. The decision to emphasise construction is essential. The first rains have fallen and the country is entering the rainy season. It will be unfeasible for the Internally Displaced Population (IDP) to remain outdoors. Other developments shall see the arrival of a U.N. team investigating human rights abuses will arrive next week. US Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, has publicly stated that elements of the Indonesian military have aided and abetted violence and that if West Timor militias are not demobilised and the situation in East Tinor improved improved, then Indonesia will suffer. UN Major General Cosgrove has repeated his appeal for the rapid deployment of a civilian police force in East Timor. At present, in the absence of a judicial and police system, Interfet can only detain suspected militia members for 72 hours, after which they have to be released. The UN Security Council has approved funding for a 460-strong police force, but there are no details so far on their deployment. On October 1, the UNHCR started using the Stadium in Dili to register Internally Displaced People (IDP). The displaced population that found sanctuary in West Timor is also being studied. The UNHCR is intending ti take on a repatriation test on October 6, 1999. Current planning is considering repatriating part of the East Timor population there, sheltering near Kupang, to Dili. The UNHCR believes that up to 60% of the displaced persons in West Timor want to return to East Timor.