MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY PRESS RELEASE 25 February 2009 MSS assists 40 families from Meteorologia IDP camp to return home - On 23 February MSS commenced assisting 40 families from Meteorologia IDP camp to return to their homes. Each of the families was assisted to return with transport provided by IOM. UNPol provided security during the movement from the camps. Each person, including children, also received 16 kg of rice. Those who are eligible to receive a recovery grant from MSS to help them rebuild or repair their homes will receive the money at the BPA.
The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, appealed to chiefs of families to use their recovery grants to rebuild their homes. He reiterated “for families living in IDP camps who did not have a house prior to the crisis, or whose house was not damaged, or for new families which formed in the camp, the government has decided to provide reintegration packages of $200, to help them reintegrate in their communities of return. Where groups of youth were also living together in one tent, and in order to facilitate their safe reintegration from the camp, MSS has also provided $200 per tent.”
The camp manager, Carlito da Silva, apologized to MSS partner agencies and the MSS verification teams for problems caused during the verification process. The camp manager thanked MSS and partner agencies for the assistance they had provided to the camp over the past two and a half years.
The Secretary of State reaffirmed that MSS would only assist those people to return home who were willing and able to return to their communities. “For those who are unable to return because their house is occupied, or there are ongoing issues with the receiving community, please inform the MSS/UNDP Dialogue Teams, and they will try to help you resolve these problems through dialogue.”
In January and February 2009, MSS has already assisted more than 605 families from six IDP camps in Dili to return home. On 27 January, MSS commenced the facilitation of the reintegration of 451 families from the Cathedral camp. On 2 February, MSS assisted 72 families from UIR IDP camp to return home. On 6 February, MSS facilitate the reintegration of 24 families from Bombeiros and 9 families from ex-CVTL camps. On 14 February, MSS assisted 31 families from Dare Lakoto and 18 families from IPI Lahane to return to their homes.
The Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves, and the Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, thanked the camp managers at each of the camps for their work over the past two and a half years. They also thanked the SLS agencies – IOM, CRS and CVTL - for providing the camps with humanitarian assistance, and Oxfam, and UNICEF for their water and sanitation support to the camps over the past two years.
With the return of IDPs from Meteorologia, Cathedral, UIR, Bombeiros, ex-CVTL, Dare Lakoto, and IPI Lahane more than 12,400 IDP families will have received a recovery or reintegration package under the Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru National Recovery Strategy. A total of 62 IDP camps have been closed. Four camps remain open in Dili. MSS hopes to close these four camps by the end of March 2009.