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At Least 100,000 Flee Homes in East Timor

May 31, 2006

DILI, East Timor (AP) _ At least 100,000 people have fled their homes in East Timor’s capital because of days of violence, a spokeswoman for a group of aid agencies said Wednesday.

Many residents of Dili, where gangs of machete-wielding youths have clashed and set dozens of fires despite the presence of hundreds of foreign peacekeepers, have taken refuge in churches, community centers and with relatives outside the city in recent days.

Kym Smithies, a spokeswoman for some 30 private aid groups operating in East Timor, said the number of displaced people exceeded 100,000.

``We are estimating that upward of 70,000 people are in camps in Dili alone,″ Smithies told The Associated Press.

An additional 30,000 have fled the city altogether, she said.

An estimated 3,000 women in camps are pregnant, Smithies said.

New camps were forming as people continued to flee their homes, she said.

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