Over 1,000 families took refuge in East Nusa
Tenggara when East Timor, now Timor Leste, became independent from
Indonesia, following a referendum in 1999. They have since lived in
shelters while the local government worked to find them permanent
Regent Ayub Titu Eki said that his administration
was looking to provide decent settlements to the refugees. “It’s
difficult to meet their demands that a settlement be built with
cultivated land,” he said when meeting with a European Union monitoring
team on Wednesday.
“The solution is the government builds
apartments with the hopes that the rest of the land can be used for
cultivation,” he said.
The refugees have complained about the
settlements provided by the government. “The government has built
settlements in a number of locations since 2001. But they are far from
access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity. There is no
electricity or clean water,” Vasco Amaral, a refugee at Tuapukan
village, said on Friday.
Margaretha, another refugee, said that
around 500 school children might drop out because their parents faced
The European Union has assisted 4,663
refugees with settlement, social facilities, healthcare, education
services and economic empowerment, according to reports.