|East Timor||DON'T DELAY PEACEKEEPING FORCE: CARITAS|
"The longer the deployment of an international force takes, the greater the humanitarian crisis becomes and the further the loss of life," said Caritas Australia spokesperson Jane Woolford.
"We fear that the time that lapses while we get ourselves together allows the militia to do further damage and take more lives," she told the Catholic Weekly.
Ms Woolford said Caritas Australia would begin distributing medical, food and water supplies to East Timor as soon as the staff could be guaranteed reasonable safety.
But Caritas is warning of a long-term humanitarian crisis in the troubled province, with agriculture ruined and infrastructure - including schools, medical and administrative buildings - destroyed.
There are reports that Caritas East Timor may temporarily relocate to Darwin. Caritas Australia is accepting donations on 1800 024 413.
Cath Weekly 11:04am 15/9/99