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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 13, 1999

Humanitarian Assistance for Timor

Today, the President used his emergency authority to authorize an additional $30 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Timor. The funds are derived from his Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund and will be channeled by the State Department to international and non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian relief.

Violence following the August 30 vote by the East Timorese people in favor of independence has uprooted nearly all of the residents of East Timor. Over 200,000 fled or were forced into West Timor, while thousands more are displaced internally. The international community's help is needed to provide basic life-saving care, effect the repatriation of refugees who fled East Timor, reintegrate the refugees as well as the displaced and assist in their recovery, and help those who cannot return immediately.

The U.S. Government is deeply concerned about the welfare of families displaced by the conflict, and we have urged the Indonesian government and military to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the immediate repatriation of all East Timorese who wish to return to their homes. This matter was discussed by Presidents Clinton and Wahid at the White House today, and we welcome President Wahid's intention to address the concerns of the international community on this issue.

The U.S. previously provided $21 million to address the humanitarian needs generated by this conflict. Funds have been used to deliver food aid, shelter materials, blankets and other relief supplies; fund health, water and sanitation programs; and support logistical operations.