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Humanitarian Coordinator's Situation Report - East Timor Crisis 01 Dec 1999

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General: Although economic activity in Dili is increasing, widespread unemployment continues to jeopardise full recovery. Personal savings are dwindling, raising the possibility that impoverished populations may need shortly to divest their remaining assets. Humanitarian agencies report that real hardship exists in the main urban centres, including Dili and Baucau. The recent rice distribution in Dili indicates that the capital's population is nearly 140,000. A significant percentage is non-Dili residents yet to return to their original homes in the countryside. With limited housing, overcrowding is negatively affecting public health, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods. Agencies are presently addressing humanitarian needs
through general distributions and are actively developing programmes that will directly target vulnerable populations. Jose
Ramos Horta returned to East Timor today after over 24 years in exile. After addressing the welcoming crowd, Mr. Horta travelled to Aileu to meet with leaders of the CNRT.
Returns: One flight occurred today from Kupang to Dili carrying 75 returnees. At Batugade, 322 returnees crossed including 268 persons on IOM-chartered trucks and 54 persons in private vehicles. Forty returnees travelled from Batugade to Maliana and 282 moved onwards to Dili. At Suai, 179 returnees crossed in 22 trucks. Approximately 1, 100 people have entered Fatumean in organised movements since the crossing opened two days ago. In Oekussi, 64 persons
crossed at Bobameto and three convoys at Citrana. Secondary movements included approximately 650 persons who travelled on the Jervis Bay to Los Palos and Viqueque. The overall number of repatriations to date is 110,506 returnees of whom 14, 749 returned on organised air movements, 27,326 on organised land crossings and 27,142 on organised sea transport. Spontaneous movements to date number 41,289.

Suai and Manatuto: The number of persons crossing from the Salele border point has dropped during the past few days. Agencies on the ground attribute the decrease in crossings to a negative information campaign in West Timor. UNHCR is investigating the situation and will take appropriate steps to ensure that the repatriation programme continues in a safe and effective manner.

As part of a collaborative initiative to upgrade the water system, agencies and INTERFET are working with local groups in Manatuto to repair the city's irrigation dam. CARE is continuing to pre-position rice for a general distribution tomorrow at Fatumakert and Sanien. Food-for-work programmes will be used to help support teachers in Manatuto. In addition, UNICEF will provide financial support to primary teachers.

Batugade and Balibo: Representatives of the Integrated Operations Cell (IOC) visited Batugade to review arrangements for the reception of returnees through Motain. Indonesian authorities confirmed that up to 1,500 persons could be processed per day at the checkpoint if required. INTERFET screening procedures will be made uniform at all major crossing points including at Suai. Reception facilities, including latrines, shading and water points, have been upgraded, facilitating the onward travel of returnees. The mission noted a marked increase in the number of returnees to coastal villages including Migir, where supplies are pre-positioned and Atabe where agencies will be conducting a health assessment in coming days.

In a meeting today in Balibo with OCHA representatives, CNRT officials confirmed that steps would be taken to prevent harassment of drivers transporting returnees in West Timor-plated vehicles. The matter was also discussed with Indonesian authorities at the Motain checkpoint.

World Aids Day: A ceremony for the World Aids Day was organized by UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO and MSF. Information brochures were passed out at the market and other locations by international agencies.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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