The United Nations and non-governmental organizations working in Timor-Leste are seeking $33.5 million to help the country’s most vulnerable, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those most at risk from natural disasters.
Finn Reske-Nielsen, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Timor-Leste, said that funds raised will complement those already committed by the Government toward projects outlined in the Transitional Strategy and Appeal.
“The Government of Timor-Leste has committed $15 million in 2008 to address IDP issues,” said Mr. Reske-Nielsen. “These financial resources constitute a significant and increased commitment of the Government towards these issues. However, further donor support to the Government’s efforts will be valuable to help meet its shortfall.”
The funds will support some 67 projects in three strategic areas: continued emergency assistance in IDP camps, supporting the Government’s National Recovery Strategy and strengthening the country’s ability to manage risk and impact from natural disasters.
While humanitarian assistance in the IDP camps continues to be critical, the primary focus of the Government and its partners this year is early recovery initiatives that will facilitate the return and/or resettlement of those that have been displaced.
Mr. Reske-Nielsen said that ongoing humanitarian problems that stem from the crisis that erupted in 2006 are complex and multi-dimensional with social, economic and political roots.
The 2006 crisis, attributed in part to differences between Timor-Leste’s eastern and western regions, began in April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the overall armed forces.
Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drive 155,000 people, or about 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes. The Security Council created the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in August that year to help restore stability.
“There is no simple or short-term solution, and the experience of national and international organisations along with the Government shows that continued support to ongoing humanitarian response and recovery efforts is vital to reaching a sustainable resolution to the crisis,” Mr. Reske-Nielsen stated.