Over 1,600 displaced discovered on eastern tip

Bishop Belo, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient for 1996 who returned to his home in Baucau last week, has called for more international pressure to secure the return of displaced persons back to East Timor.

A UN exploratory team went to Ermera and Gleno on October 7 and reported 90% of the houses destroyed. Ermera and Gleno are about 60kms southwest of Dili.

According to the initial UN reports, 90% of the towns have been destroyed. Water systems have to be repaired and supplies for the construction of shelters has to be provided.

The bulk of the local population is apparently still living in the forests near Fatubala.

Pockets of previously unknown displaced people have been appearing as investigations into the countryside increase. A British Gurka troop found 1,600 people hiding in caves near the town of Tuala, on the eastern tip of the island.

Repatriation of East Timorese who found shelter in West Timor started last Friday.

In the first attempt, 173 people were flown from Kupang to Dili.

According to UN reports, the returnees were selected with two issues prominent. They were families from Dili or they are people who have been separated from families still in Dili.

Two more flights were scheduled for Saturday October 9 and another two tomorrow, October 11.