The Caritas Australia team destined for East Timor is progressively travelling to Dili this week from Darwin. It has amassed stores, equipment and vital supplies at its Darwin base. Because of the looting by militia and departing Indonesian military, every item needed must be carried from Darwin.
    Conditions remain reasonably secure in the capital, Dili, where the InterFET troops have focused their attention, but access to scattered communities of internally displaced persons outside the city remains precarious and dangerous.
    "The team's initial focus will be on a coordinated food distribution program in partnership with other agencies. Caritas was distributing emergency food to the East Timorese prior to the recent crisis and we want to reestablish this as quickly as possible," said Peter Carter, Caritas Australia's team leader in Darwin.
    "As well as playing an active role in distributing food, Caritas Australia's contribution will centre on assisting Care International and World Vision to make the appropriate contacts throughout the country by reactivating the Caritas East Timor network," he said.
    Although the immediate aim of the program is to get food as quickly and efficiently as possible to the internally displaced persons, UNICEF has requested that Caritas work closely with it to address the longer term issue of trauma damage caused by the tragic circumstances of their displacement.
    Despite regular setbacks such as the massacre of the past few days, Catholic parish networks are beginning to regroup throughout the country and will form an invaluable resource in facilitating this kind of specialised and crucial humanitarian work.
    - Caritas 11:48am 28/9/99

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