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UNTAET Daily Briefing 21 Jun 2001

Publication date

Dili, 21 June 2001

An estimated 1,000 people were left homeless in Lospalos town, in the eastern region of East Timor, as a result of three days of heavy flash flooding that swept through the area earlier this week. District elders in Lospalos say the floods are the worst to hit the area since 1954. National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) officials say that an 85-year-old woman drowned as a result of the flooding yesterday. Five-hundred and forty people have already registered in shelters set up in a school and a church in Lo Palos town. The number of people in need of emergency assistance is expected to rise in the coming days as contact is made with surrounding areas cut off from Los Palos town by damaged roads, mudslides, and fallen trees. The nearby areas of Luro, Illiomar, and Mehara have reportedly been badly affected. Due to the current inaccessibility of these areas, 75 district civil servants are currently conducting a detailed assessment by helicopter.

Peacekeeping Forces in the area are providing support in setting up relief and protection centers, supplying food, blankets and medical support, and in rescuing people from isolated areas. The Republic of Korea Battalion's rescue teams have evacuated over 200 people from isolated areas and established a medical aid center. The floods have destroyed an estimated 100 homes and the main bridge in Los Palos town. NEOC officials anticipate the need for further external assistance over the coming days, including in the clearing of mud and debris from the affected areas. The weather in the district was clear today, although further rain is forecast over the next two days. NEOC officials say that the district may need assistance with water purification, storage and distribution resources, and indications are that relief food supplies for at least 1,000 people will be needed for up to one month. A convoy of vehicles traveling from Baucau to Los Palos carrying emergency supplies was forced to turn back today due to the severe damage caused to the road by the floods. An operation to airlift these supplies will begin tomorrow.


Less than 2,000 East Timorese registered today in Dili, the capital of East Timor, but registration will go on in Dili until Saturday afternoon to allow the East Timorese, especially the ones who work during the week, one last change to register and participate in the 30 August elections for a Constituent Assembly. Registration centers in Dili were virtually empty today, indicating that the vast majority of people in the capital have now completed the process. UNTAET Civil Registration officials say that the registration process has now been virtually completed both in the capital and East Timor's 13 districts. "After a slow start we have almost finished the initial registration. With this information we can build a database with which to design development strategies and give critical data to the Independent Election Commission for the holding of elections," said Peter Rimmele, head of UNTAET's Civil Registration Unit. The latest figures indicate that more than 773,000 people - over 95 percent of East Timor's estimated population - have been registered.


The Partido Trabalhista Timorense (PTT) today submitted its list of candidates to the Independent Electoral Commission and is now the fourth political party which has presented candidates to the 30 August elections to the Constituent Assembly. PTT is the second party which has presented candidates both for national and district seats in the future Constituent Assembly. Also today, the newly formed party Partai Liberal submitted an application for registration to the Independent Electoral Commission in order to present candidates to the elections. Yesterday, the Partido Social Democrata (PSD) and Associação Social-Democrata Timorense (ASDT) received their official political party certificates of registration from the Independent Electoral Commission. The total number of parties registered is now 12. Fifteen parties have submitted their applications for registration.