Indonesia + 1 more

Humanitarian Coordinator's Situation Report - East Timor Crisis 2 Dec 1999

General: During the past few days, some tensions have appeared in communities between new arrivals and populations who remained in East Timor during the post-consultation violence. Many returnees are entering East Timor with considerable assets which, in certain situations, is creating resentment among people who fled into the hills and lost the majority of their possessions. Although humanitarian agencies are working to ensure that emergency aid reaches all needy populations, existing distribution mechanisms have prioritised supplies for new arrivals. Agencies are considering shifting from the general distribution of emergency items to targeted distributions where assistance is provided on the basis of assessed needs and vulnerabilities. Under the leadership of UNICEF, agencies will also be exploring initiatives aimed at reconciliation.
Recent field assessments have identified some gaps in humanitarian coverage, particularly in areas where returnees are repopulating previously uninhabited villages and towns. During the past few weeks, Atabae, Maubara and Migir along the northern coastal road have been filling rapidly with returning residents. Each sectoral coordination committee is in the process of reviewing coverage in all thirteen districts, giving particular attention to areas with new returnee concentrations.

The OCHA coordination structure, under which the early emergency operation was organised, has become the core of the UNTAET humanitarian pillar. Sectoral committees continue to meet, ensuring coverage and standards across the country. With the deployment of District Administrators, humanitarian activities in the field will also be coordinated at the regional level.

Returns: In a continuing trend, the total number of daily returnees remained low. At Batugade, 67 persons crossed today. In Oekussi, 84 people crossed at Passabe and 121 at Citrana. In Suai, 104 persons and one truckload of cattle crossed in an organised movement at the Salele bridge. With today's arrivals, the total number of returnees is now 110,512. No air or sea movements occurred today. In Balibo, 3,000 persons out of a total population of 17,000 have returned from West Timor in recent weeks.

Atauro Island: An inter-agency team comprising WFP, OCHA, UNTAET and INTERFET visited the island today to assess food stocks and health conditions. CNRT officials confirmed the need for food assistance which will be delivered on 6 December by WFP barge and helicopter for Atauro's population of 7,915.

Oekussi: With the population in the Ambeno enclave now totalling more than 35,000, agencies expect few additional organised movements to occur. Movement within the enclave is becoming more difficult as roads, particularly those straddling rivers, are washed-out. A rice distribution of 950 bags for 5,000 people occurred at three sites in central Ambeno today. CARE and Caritas are continuing with seed and tools distributions. As part of on-going efforts to increase productivity, CARE has organised the use of a tractor to plough acreage for maize planting. Early appraisals indicate poor harvests in the coming season, raising the possibility of a continuing need for food assistance.

Logistics: WFP delivered 3 MTs of oil, 11.2 MTs of beans and 8 MTs of maize to hard-hit Ainaro on behalf of ICRC. WFP's helicopter also delivered 3.5 MTs of rice to the remote location of Aidabasalala. Land convoys delivered 12 MTs of rice to Maliana, 25 MTs to Manatuto and 35 MTs to Liquica. The WFP barge off-loaded 220 MTs of emergency supplies at Suai and is due to return to Dili on Saturday.

West Timor: The mortality rate in the Tuapukan Camp near Kupang has recently increased, possibly due to contaminated water supplies and inadequate sanitation. Agencies are taking urgent steps to improve environmental conditions in this camp, where access has been particularly restricted.

Rapid assessments indicate that nutritional status is deteriorating among certain groups in camps in the Belo district near Atambua. An ICRC-commissioned nutritional survey found 11 percent severe malnutrition of children in five camps, the worst-affected being Umaklaran and Kenebibi. The malnutrition appears to be linked to problems in food distribution and monitoring, resulting from access restrictions. UNICEF will shortly launch an additional nutritional survey, incorporating disease-linked factors, of displaced and host communities in the Belu district. As part of its on-going public awareness campaigns, UNHCR is exploring ways of including information about food entitlements in their mass media programmes.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit