Subject: AP: Emergency aid arrives in East Timor districts hit by civil unrest

August 14, 2007

Emergency aid arrives in East Timor districts hit by civil unrest

DILI East Timor

Emergency aid was delivered by air and land to thousands of refugees who fled homes in East Timor due to violence triggered by the appointment of a new government, officials said Tuesday.

Hundreds of homes, schools and offices were torched in the eastern districts of Viqueque and Baucau after Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was named prime minister on Aug. 6, angering members of the former ruling party.

Efforts to reach about 4,000 people displaced by the unrest some sheltering in churches, police stations and surrounding mountains were restricted after armed assailants ambushed a U.N. convoy late last week.

Two U.N. helicopters delivered basic need supplies like rice, noodles, milk and tents to the area Tuesday, Vice Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres told reporters in the capital, Dili.

A 15-vehicle government convoy, guarded by 30 soldiers from the national Timorese army, was also bringing in supplies, said a statement from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

East Timor, which became independent with U.N. backing in 2002, has struggled to restore stability since communal clashes last year killed 37 and drove 155,000 from their homes.

The economy is in tatters, tens of thousands live in tent camps and around a fifth of the population faced food shortages before the recent unrest.

The U.N. said the situation in East Timor was tense, although no major security incidents were reported. Six U.N. vehicles were attacked with stones Monday night, leaving a U.N. police officer hurt.


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