|East Timor||CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS WITNESS APPALING LIVING CONDITIONS|
Internally displaced refugees in East Timor are suffering appalling physical conditions according to a group of Catholic religious sisters, who have gained access to previously inaccessible refugee camps.
"The camps in Maubara, about 100kms west of Dili, are no more than bare, dusty enclosures. There are 500 families, who have had their fields destroyed and houses burnt, forced into these camps. Access to the people is controlled by members of the Besi Merah Putih armed militia," one of the sisters said.
"While there was some access to water, only one area was set aside for washing. There were no toilets.
"The children appeared very malnourished, most with lice, scabies, open sores, eye infections, profuse running noses and coughs. One little boy's head was almost covered in an open gaping wound, another had a great sore on his foot."
The sisters also said that housing, made of scrap materials, was very cramped, with many people forced to sleep outside on mats.
Caritas Australia's Program Manager, Ann Wigglesworth said an estimated 44,000 people are internally displaced throughout East Timor.
Ms Wigglesworth, who has just returned from Dili said, "Our partner agency has 3,000 refugees registered in Dili alone but those outside the capital remain cut-off from assistance because the armed militia have control of the areas and continue to threaten church workers."
http://www.caritas.org.au 4:45pm 9/6/99