Metanaro Refugee Camp

Pictures of the Metanaro refugee camp in East Timor in August year 2006 from the dutchpickle blog  Timor-Leste 2006

metanaro refugee camp East TimorIn the year 2006 East Timor – thousands of Timorese resettled to a camp east of Dili in East Tmor to escape the unrest and violence in the hinterlands and in the capitol. I took these pictures in August on my way to Com at the east end of Timor from the capitol of Dili on my motorbike.

Metanaro camp East TimorThere was a violent relationship between the people from the western and eastern part of the country. Many many people lost their homes when rival forces burnt them to the ground. The people staying in this camp were easterners and felt more safe in this area. Some would commute to Dili every morning to work but they always came back here at night to sleep with their friends and families.  A military camp was nearby to help keep control and provide protection.

East Timor refugee camp 2006It was estimated that as many as 7000 displaced persons lived here at one time. These pictures and info are from 2006. I was just going through my old computer and decided to post a few pictures for the sake of recording history. I never felt ill at ease in Timor possibly because I never was involved in politics and the people seemed to accept me – both easterners and westerners. I had arrived in May of 2006 and left for Alor in December and have not been back to East Timor since though I have many fond memories of the place and it’s people. These people went through some very difficult times!

East Timor refugee campFirewood for sale at the refugee camp.

MetanaroMetanaro refugee camp 2006

UN tents

dutchpickle logoEast Timor in 2006 – recollections when I look back in 2012

note – There was a sizable camp at the airport in Dili too. It had many of these UN tents in tight rows and had a fence around it. Australian troops patrolled the area and many troops camped out on the airport grounds as well. I never thought to take pictures of that one as I was new to blogging and let many opportunities pass by.

Several smaller groups set up camp inside the downtown area itself. One was just across from the Timor hotel and many set up in the grounds at the Catholic Church for security and safety.

The entire Comoro market by the bridge had been burned down by rival factions and the Arte Moris art school was housing several hundred displaced people on the grounds too. There were soldiers stationed at the entrance of the art museum to keep troublemakers out.

In June the streets seemed to be very quiet as many people fled to their families villages to wait in relative safety to see what developed.

Here are Rita’s homeboys headed out to Maliana in the western part of East Timor.

heading out of DiliWhen rumors indicated that trouble was approaching, residents would load up their stuff and head for the hills to be around relatives.  This pic was taken at the backpackers guesthouse in Dili. Rita was the manager and I think these were relatives.

downtown DiliI think these are Australian troops – they really did a superb job in my observation. The Kiwis also had a presence and ran checkpoints and had gun positions set up by the dock. Malaysians had a checkpoint set up on the coastal road going west. They were a friendly lot. The Portuguese GNR seemed to show in random areas when needed. I did not see any UN blue helmets in May or June.

Australian troops

Traffic control

dutchpickle logodutchpickle looking back at East Timor in 2006

Timor-Leste 2006




Jun 5, 2012

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