Aid &
In a statement issued to coincide with today's first anniversary of East Timor's independence referendum, Caritas Australia National Director Jack de Groot has thanked Australians for their generous response to the humanitarian crisis that followed.
    He said: "Last year, as the crisis of East Timor unfolded, the Australian people responded with wonderful generosity... In the last few months, as the crisis lessened to some extent, Caritas Australia, with your help, has been able to address other needs, such as housing, food production, and refugee assistance."
    Since last December, over 20,000 returning refugees have been assisted with food and basic supplies; 32 tonnes of rice and vegetable seed have been distributed to re-establish agriculture; 4000 hoes and rakes have been distributed to farmers; 20 classrooms have been re-roofed; over 10,000 children continue to receive food daily through school feeding programs in the Oecussi area; and a series of radio programs have been produced enabling people to share their experiences and receive counselling.
    But Mr de Groot said that much remains to be done: "Many people are still without homes, do not have access to education, communication, health care or food security. Caritas Australia, with your help, intends to stay, whilst ever there is a need for us to do so."
30 Aug 00

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