CWS Delays Reopening West Timor Program
November 4, 2000, NEW YORK CITY -- Based on the most recent information available concerning the present circumstances in West Timor, Church World Service said today that it had decided to postpone re-opening its West Timor Program.
Operations have been suspended since early September following the murder by pro-Indonesia militias of three United Nations expatriate relief workers. Nearly 400 foreign aid workers, including several working for Church World Service, were evacuated to Indonesia and U.N.-administered East Timor following the murders.
CWS is waiting for a substantial change in the conditions on the ground and for the U.N. Security Council to complete its own assessment and report of the situation to the international community, said Rick Santos, CWS Interim Director for Social and Economic Development.
During the past year, CWS has assisted more than 10,000 refugees from East Timor with tents, blankets, food, bedding, mosquito nets and health and hygiene kits. They are among an estimated 120,000 refugees from East Timor who remain trapped in camps in West Timor.
CWS will only consider re-opening its operations in Atambua and Kupang, West Timor, when the situation is secure, Mr. Santos said.
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