MINISTER ANDREWS ANNOUNCES £1 MILLION POUNDS IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO EAST TIMOR
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews, T.D., today announced that the Government will give a grant of £1 million pounds to assist the people of East Timor who have suffered so dreadfully in recent weeks.
Speaking from Los Angeles, where he is accompanying the President on an official visit, Minister Andrews said
"We must continue to work with the rest of the international community to support the people of East Timor in whatever way we can. In addition to our contribution to the multinational peace force, the Government has decided to contribute £1 million to meet the humanitarian and rehabilitation needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people in East Timor and those who have fled or have been forcibly removed from their homes to West Timor and other parts of Indonesia."
The assistance will meet immediate humanitarian needs such as food, water and medical supplies and help with the initial reconstruction. It will be channelled through UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. These agencies have a presence on the ground or are ready to establish operations as soon as the multinational force arrives in East Timor. They also all work in partnership with NGOs based in the region. All assistance will be coordinated with other donors under the leadership of the UN to ensure an efficient and effective response to those most in need.
The Minister added
"I want to reiterate Ireland's commitment to helping the people of East Timor recover from the tragic events of the past few weeks.. We will support them in their efforts to re-build their lives and communities and, over the coming months and years, to make the transition to independence which they have overwhelmingly endorsed".