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Humanitarian Coordinator's Situation Report - East Timor Crisis 06 Dec 1999

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General: With militia-initiated incidents now unlikely in Dili, the threat to security in the city has been reduced from medium to low. Beginning 3 December, Indonesian authorities have refused to allow UNTAET military liaison officers to operate across the border from Bobonaro and Cova Lima districts, forcing the UNTAET border liaison teams to withdraw from Motain, Haekesak and Salele. To date, border liaison teams operating from the Ambeno enclave have not been restricted. A meeting at Batugade tomorrow between INTERFET Commander, Major General Cosgrove and Major General Kiki Syahnakri, Udayana Region Commander will address border liaison issues. Brigadier Reza, UNTAET Chief Military Officer, will also participate.
Returns: The number of returnees continues to be low. The reduction in crossings is attributed to continued restricted access to camps for humanitarian workers, intimidation of refugees, rain (the Memo crossing is flooded), misinformation campaigns, and a reduced pool of readily accessible refugees.

On 4 December, 243 returnees travelled from Betun to Suai on leased trucks. Agencies report that 185 persons returned to Dili from Kupang on an IOM-chartered ferry, and 61 returned by air from Kupang to Dili on an IOM-charter ed aircraft. On 5 December, 213 refugees who had been evacuated to Australia in September returned from Perth to Dili in an IOM-chartered aircraft. On 6 December, 317 persons crossed at Batugade, and 305 returnees arrived on the IOM-chartered flight from Melbourne to Dili. In secondary movements, 141 refugees who had crossed at Suai were moved by UNHCR trucks to Ainaro. Tomorrow, this group will move to their home locations in Hato Bulliko. There are presently 347 persons in the Don Bosco transit centre in Dili awaiting secondary movement. The total number of repatriations stands at 113,885.

Field Visits: Visits by UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar (UHP) field coordination staff to the central highlands districts of Ermera, Gleno, Aileu and Ainaro confirmed that the region is the least serviced in East Timor. Destruction in Gleno and Ainaro has been extensive, and road access to several towns, in particular Ainaro and Atsabe, is becoming increasingly difficult as the wet season progresses. With the sub-districts of Hato Udo and Turiskai now inaccessible from their respective district towns of Ainaro and Same, arrangements to exchange operational responsibility have been agreed.

Assistance to Falintil: In the cantonment area surrounding Aileu, approximately 1,500 Falintil and 1,200 dependants are relying on the local population for support. Possibilities to provide food assistance are being examined in concert with plans
for demobilisation and retraining.

Technical Training: In conjunction with the Northern Territory University, Timor Aid will begin vocational courses at the technical high school in Dili on 13 December in welding, roofing, vehicle repair and maintenance, and computer skills - together with English language instruction. Registration began today with over 1,500 requesting places for the initial course capacity of about 400.

NGO Workshop : A landmark workshop funded by AusAID and USAID, and convened by the East Timor NGO Forum, an umbrella group for East Timorese NGOs, was attended by over 80 participants. The workshop, which included 22 of the existing 24 East Timorese NGOs and CNRT representatives, discussed relationships between East Timorese NGOs and international humanitarian agencies. Participants agreed to re- establish the national NGO coordination body as a matter of urgency. The SRSG addressed the workshop and led a discussion on the role of NGOs in relation to the transitional administration and the development of a pluralist and democratic civil society in East Timor.

West Timor: The Director of the UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar, Mr Cecilio Adorna, travelled to Atambua and Kupang on 5 December for consultations and will return to Dili on 7 December.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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