Indonesia + 1 more

East Timor - Crisis Fact Sheet #23, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
  • As of November 29, the U.N. reports that 107,628 East Timorese have repatriated via organized and spontaneous returns. UNHCR's formal repatriation process began on October 8.
  • According to UNHCR, organized returns now comprise about six out of ten returns. Many spontaneous returnees are assisted across the border as they join organized repatriation convoys.
East Timor


  • On November 29, the International Office for Migration (IOM) opened a new border crossing from Halilulik/Laktutus to Fatomean, transporting 628 refugees via convoy.
  • Other overland returns continue with 3,672 refugees repatriating through the Betun-Suai border crossing from November 26-29, and 122 refugees repatriating through the Motaain-Batugade border crossing on November 29.
  • Although Suai continues to be the most active border crossing, the number of returns via this point has decreased due to insecurity.
  • From November 22-27, an estimated 100 refugees per day spontaneously crossed near Citrana, entering into the Ambeno enclave. On November 28, IOM repatriated 177 refugees to Ambeno via the Bobometo border crossing. On November 29, an additional 61 refugees repatriated spontaneously to the Ambeno enclave through the Wini border crossing.
Overall International Response
  • The newly formed Integrated Operations Cell (IOC) held its first meeting on November 24 to discuss plans for ensuring that adequate stocks of food, water, plastic sheeting, and medical supplies are pre-positioned at the Suai, Maliana, and Batugade border crossing points.
  • Members of the IOC will travel to the thirteen regions of East Timor in the coming days to work with field teams to develop regional plans to meet humanitarian needs. These regional plans will complement the strategic plans that were previously developed in the sectoral coordination meetings.
  • Tension continues to grow within the CNRT (local resistance movement) regarding the U.N.'s role in East Timor vis a vis the CNRT's lack of involvement in decision-making related to relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. In addition, the CNRT is concerned that more East Timorese are not being hired by international NGOs.
Food and Non-Food Assistance
  • UNHCR reports that as of November 26, household relief items have been procured for 260,000 of the 550,000 target beneficiaries in East Timor. These items include 80 percent of plastic sheeting requirements (59 percent of which has been distributed), as well as blankets, sarongs, jerry cans, kitchen sets, soap, mosquito nets, and sleeping bags.
  • The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that since mid-November, CARE, Concern, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) have distributed 379 metric tons (MT) of rice to 32,979 IDPs in the Los Palos and Com regions. These distributions are sufficient to provide adequate food stocks to the region during the early part of the rainy season.
  • A second general food distribution took place on November 27, in which more than 100,000 people living in Dili and its environs received some 1,000 MT of rice at 47 distribution points. On November 29 and 30, 130 MT of oil and beans were delivered to returnees through this same distribution network.
  • According to OCHA, on November 26, 4,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Suai received a one-week ration of rice. In additional distributions the WFP helicopter delivered 20 MT of rice to Lolotoe, Gildpel, and Luntas on November 26 and 12.4 MT of relief supplies to Suai, Same, and Bobonaro from November 27-29.
  • A WFP barge delivered 185 MT of rice, beans, vegetables, and maize to Suai on November 28. In addition, a WFP barge delivered 130 MT of food and non-food supplies to Oekussi on November 25. On this same date, WFP also delivered 34 MT of maize, beans, and oil to Atolia and 22 MT of food to Aileu.
  • On November 26, OXFAM dispatched personnel to the Ambeno enclave to assess environmental health conditions and the water supply. OXFAM has been working with local people in Ambeno to dig latrines and chlorinate wells to provide safe drinking water to an estimated 12,000 persons living there.
West Timor


  • Of the remaining 140,000-160,000 East Timorese in West Timor, OCHA reports that 120,677 are in the Belu District. Of this number, 57,850 are living in barracks or tents and the remainder are living in government buildings, churches, or with host families.
  • UNHCR reports that it continues to have difficulties extracting refugees from militia controlled camps in the Kupang area, as evidenced by the fact that UNHCR was only able to extract 19 refugees from the Noelbaki camp on November 29. Recently, UNHCR also has experienced difficulty in extracting refugees from the Naibonat camp.
  • UNHCR has been conducting a media campaign in West Timor aimed at dispelling rumors and disinformation spread by militia members regarding conditions in East Timor. The media campaign consists of radio announcements and print media. (Note: USAID/OFDA's Senior Regional Advisor has expressed concern that a conspicuous lack of radios in the camps he has visited may be hampering the impact of UNHCR's information campaign.)
  • Of a possible 40,000-45,000 Government of Indonesia (GOI) civil servants that were in East Timor and are now in West Timor, some 6,000 have indicated to UNHCR that they wish to be transferred to other areas of Indonesia. Approximately 2,500 want to be placed in Belu District, suggesting that this group may eventually decide to return to East Timor.
Food and Non-Food Assistance
  • WFP is working with other U.N. agencies and its implementing partners to devise a plan to distribute food aid to camps that are likely to become inaccessible by land during the rainy season.
  • The Japanese military plans to assist UNHCR for a three-month period to deliver relief supplies to persons in need in the Kupang area. Ultimately, three Japanese C-130s will fly a total of five missions to Kupang per week. The first Japanese mission to Kupang occurred on November 29, when 10 MT of relief supplies were transported from Surabaya to Kupang.
  • On November 29, humanitarian workers and Indonesian officials met in Kupang to discuss ways to improve health conditions at the Tuapukan camp, where six children and two adults recently died due to unspecified ailments.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) report that a measles vaccination campaign, targeted at more than 6,000 IDP children, has begun in camps in the Kupang area. The campaign is aimed at children between the ages of nine months and 14 years, and will consist of a Vitamin A supplement in addition to the measles vaccination. Tuapukan, Noelbaki, and Naibonat camps will be targeted first. This initiative is a cooperative effort between the GOI Department of Health, UNICEF, WHO, and various NGOs.
  • DEPSOS (the Indonesian Department of Social Welfare) is distributing rice to villages along the Ambeno enclave/West Timor border area, at the direction of the provincial government, which has ordered DEPSOS to distribute food to all refugees in West Timor regardless of location. Written agreements between WFP and its implementing partners give responsibility for food distribution in this area to international NGOs. As a result, overlapping of assistance is occurring.
USG Assistance
  • USG assistance, provided mainly by USAID and the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and delivered through local and international implementing partners, aims to meet the humanitarian needs of East Timorese in East and West Timor. USAID assistance is based on field assessments by USAID/OFDA and USAID/Jakarta staff, as well as information provided by implementing partners.
  • USAID/OFDA has authorized $12,387,950 in assistance during FY 1999 and FY 2000. This assistance includes:
- $1.6 million for the provision and transport of various relief commodities, such as humanitarian daily rations, plastic sheeting, blankets, and water containers;

- $165,000 to an Indonesian non-governmental organization (NGO) implementing water/sanitation activities at four sites along the West Timor border;

- $1.3 million to WFP for logistics and transport operations;

- $500,000 to UNICEF in support of emergency assistance programs in East and West Timor;

- $2,084,613 to CARE/USA for emergency assistance to East Timorese in both East and West Timor; and,

- up to an additional $6,715,387 million in grants to NGOs and international organizations (IOs) for humanitarian assistance in East and West Timor.

  • USAID/Office of Food for Peace (FFP) is providing nearly $10 million in food commodities in response to the East Timor Crisis. This assistance includes provision of 4,000 MT of corn and 5,900 MT of rice, valued at $5 million, to WFP to meet the basic grain (carbohydrate) needs of 360,000 people for two months. USAID/FFP has also contributed 6,700 MT of Title II food commodities, valued at $4.2 million, to CARE for IDPs and returnees in East Timor. USAID/FFP is providing 1,200 MT of rice, valued at $769,000 through Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for refugees in West Timor. In addition, the USAID/FFP office at the USAID Mission in Jakarta has contributed $127,000 for the transportation and distribution of USAID/FFP Title II commodities in East Timor.
  • USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) provided $429,000 in funding to support the peace process and monitoring of the elections in East Timor. USAID/OTI is providing another $240,000 through 11 grants to local East Timorese NGOs and OCHA to help strengthen indigenous NGOs affected by the emergency. The funds will be used to provide in-kind donations of equipment and staff salaries for three months to help the organizations re-establish themselves.
  • Moreover, USAID/Jakarta's Office of Population, Health, and Nutrition (PHN) is providing $568,924 to expand and extend an existing grant with WVI for a food security and health initiative in East Timor. The USAID/Jakarta mission has provided $5,870 to Project Concern International for a health assessment in West Timor. In addition, USAID/Jakarta has provided $600,000 to the National Cooperative Business Association for primary health clinics in East Timor.
  • State/PRM has provided $5.1 million to UNHCR ($2.6 million), ICRC ($1 million), WFP ($1 million), and OCHA ($500,000) to assist these organizations in meeting the needs of East Timorese.
  • On November 10, President Clinton authorized an additional $30 million in funding from his Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund to expand State/PRM relief operations in East and West Timor.
  • In early September, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) donated a total of 300,000 humanitarian daily rations (HDRs) to meet immediate needs in East Timor. The rations, valued at $1,275,000, were dispatched to Darwin, Australia, via USAID/OFDA-funded commercial aircraft. WFP and the international forces in East Timor (INTERFET) have airdropped 180,000 DOD-provided HDRs to date. No further airdrops are planned and the remaining 120,000 HDRs are being held in reserve by WFP for contingency use as needed.
  • DOD also transported Portuguese relief commodities from Lisbon to Darwin, Australia at a cost of $580,000.
  • The U.S. military and WFP reached an agreement on November 4 to transport food and non-food relief supplies to extended delivery points in East Timor via two helicopters until mid-November.
  • On October 27, the ship USS Pelleliu arrived in Dili. The ship is providing heavy-lift helicopter support to INTERFET to transport military assets from Dili to other locations in East Timor.
  • In addition, DOD is assisting INTERFET in intelligence gathering, communications, logistics, coordination, and airlift capability. Approximately 20 civil affairs personnel from Fort Bragg have been assigned to the Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) in Dili.

Following an overwhelming U.N.-supported vote for independence from Indonesia, pro-integrationist militias in East Timor rampaged and plundered through several cities and towns in early September. Thousands of civilians were killed in the ensuing violence. There was widespread destruction of homes and private assets on the island, including U.N. and NGO offices and equipment. More than 350,000 East Timorese were displaced from their homes due to the violence, including approximately 200,000 IDPs who fled to the surrounding hills and jungles of East Timor. Although INTERFET has gained access and control throughout East Timor, the overall security situation in the East/West Timor border area remains tenuous due to the continued presence of militia there.


- USAID/OFDA: $12,387,950

- USAID/FFP: $9,969,000

- USAID/OTI: $669,000

- USAID/Jakarta: $1,301,794

- State/PRM: $5,100,000*

- DOD: $1,855,000

- TOTAL USG ASSISTANCE: $31,282,744**

* As noted, an additional $30 million in ERMA funds have been authorized by President Clinton.

** This total does not include funding for projects by USAID/Jakarta to support NGO activities in Indonesia nor the $30 million in authorized ERMA funds.