Indonesia needs at least 197 million dollars to relocate some 1.25 million of its people who have been made homeless but less than 20 percent of this sum is available, a minister said Thursday.
Manpower and Transmigration Minister Jacob Nuwa Wea, quoted by the state Antara news agency, said some 256,954 families who have fled internal conflicts need to be relocated.
But the government through the National Development Planning Board could only set aside 32.9 million dollars to relocate some 29,000 families, Wea said.
"I'm optimistic that we can work harder to settle the refugee problem," the minister said, adding that he had set a six-month deadline to settle the problem.
Last month officials said that more than 300,000 people had become refugees since January.
The overall figure includes East Timorese forced from their homes by militia violence before and after the August 1999 vote for independence.
Only the East Timorese are officially considered to be refugees by the United Nations and are thus entitled to international assistance.
Other refugees are listed as "internally displaced people," putting the burden of their care solely on Indonesia. Most are victims of sectarian and communal violence in seven other provinces including Aceh, Irian Jaya and the Malukus -- JAKARTA (AFP)
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