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Spontaneous returns expected to rise as Indonesian troops leave

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Although there has been substantial organised repatriation of refugees in East Timor, with officials using planes and ships to repatriate the population, there is a sizeable number of refugees who have remained sheltered in remote locations.

Many have refused to return as long as Indonesian troops remain active and visible in East Timor.

With the completion of the departure of Indonesian troops, the UNHCR is estimating that between 250,000 and 300,000 displaced people will come down from the neighbouring countryside.There will be an urgent demand for food, shelter and medical care. Organised returns also have continued. On November 1, there were 1,016 returnees on two barges from Dili.

November 2 saw five flights from Kupang with 443 returnees. Another 849 arrived by two barges.The combined organised (25,460) and spontaneous (12,763) return of refugees is 38,133.