1. GENERAL SITUATION
President Megawati announced her 32-member Cabinet on 9 August. The House of Representatives (DPR) speaker, Akbar Tandjung, and the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker, Amien Rais, pledged support for the new Cabinet.
2. NATURAL DISASTERS
An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale shook Bali and the eastern tip of Java on 7 August, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
According to the Nias Disaster Task Force, the death toll from the disaster, which severely hit seven main districts -- Lahusa, Lolowa'u, Telukdalam, Lolomatua, Gomo, Amandraya and Bawolato, and other smaller areas -- reached 101 as of Sunday evening, with 160 people missing and at least 866 houses, 12 school buildings, three churches and four bridges destroyed. A team from the National Disaster Management Coordination Board (Bakornas PB) visited the disaster area together with the Governor from 2-5 August. They brought with them assistance from the Central Government to the amount of Rp 153 million in cash (about US$16,600), 100MT of rice and medical supplies, as well as Rp 1 billion (US$110,000) in funds from the Ministry of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure for emergency rehabilitation of building facilities. The team concluded that food distributions should target locations isolated due to road and bridge damages and that medical assistance was a priority need. The team observed that emergency repairs and rehabilitation specifically for roads, bridges are very urgent to open up roads to the isolated areas. The Vice-President traveled to Nias on 7 August, bringing along 100MT of rice and a further Rp 200 million (some US$21,600) in cash. USAID on 3 August allocated US$25,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to provide immediate relief to the victims. The IFRC and the Indonesian Red Cross will use the funds to provide emergency food and relief items to people on Nias displaced from their homes and living in temporary shelters, and to support their long-term recovery from the effects of the disaster.
The Jakarta Post on 6 August reported that the Speaker of the Nias Legislative Council, Ali Amran Tanjung, urged the Nias administration to temporarily stop rampant logging on the island to help halt the rapid rate of deforestation, blamed as the main reason behind the recent floods. Ali Amran explained that of the flood-hit districts, Gomo and Lahusa had experienced a golden age between 1997 and 1998, when patchouli oil produced in the area fetched up to Rp 1.2 million (US$130) per kilo. The conversion of forests into patchouli-producing plantation areas was backed by greedy businessmen, with no consideration of the effect of their actions on the environment.
There were 10 armed clashes with some 20 people killed (civilians, military and GAM), 6 civilians kidnapped, and 12 police/military injured during the week. The police found 4 bodies, whose hands and feet were tied, buried in shallow graves near Banda Aceh on Saturday. In the latest incident on 9 August, 20 to 30 persons were shot dead and others severely wounded by unknown gunmen in Idi Rayeuk sub-district, East Aceh. The victims were found in a plantation area and are believed to be employees of a palm oil estate. Neither GAM nor the police could be reached for confirmation.
Faisal Saifuddin, the head of the Jakarta office of the Information Centre for a Referendum in Aceh (SIRA) was arrested on 2 August for participating in a demonstration on 8 November 2000 in Jakarta demanding that the Dutch invasion of the sultanate of Aceh in 1873 be recognised as illegal. At the time of his arrest, Saifuddin was being questioned by the police in connection with a bomb blast in an Acehnese students' dormitory in Jakarta on 10 May 2001. The South China Morning Post on 6 August reported that according to an Acehnese source, up to 57 other SIRA activists had been arrested in Jakarta after Saifuddin's arrest.
The police have arrested a sixth GAM negotiator, Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba, in Banda Aceh on Friday. On 20 July, the police arrested six GAM negotiators, but one of them had been released the following day. Tiba belonged to a joint GAM-government security monitoring committee set up under the "Humanitarian Pause". The (previous) Foreign Minister reportedly sent a letter to the Head of the Aceh Police with an instruction to release them.
The military Chief Commander of North Aceh returned 54 vehicles seized during operations against GAM to their owners in Lhokseumawe on Tuesday. In addition 45 cataract and 5 harelip sufferers from poor families in the districts of North Aceh and Bireun got free of charge surgery at the Military Hospital in Lhokseumawe.
YPAB (National Children Care Foundation) on 6 August gave 40 poor widows skills and management training as well as Rp 300,000 and one sewing machine to each to start up a business.
Kompas reported on 4 August that three districts of Aceh - Central Aceh, South East Aceh and Aceh Singkil - demanded to form a new province and separate from Aceh. A "team eleven", chaired by a member of the House of Representatives and consisting of some top officials from Aceh was formed in order to promote this proposal for a new province which would be called Leuser Antara. The population in these areas feels that the provincial government treats it unfairly. This feeling was apparently exacerbated two months ago when the road from Bireun to Takengon was blocked, provoking shortages of fuel, food supplies and other items in these districts.
All Heads of District, Mayors and Department Heads at provincial level, including the Military Chief Commander, the Police Chief of Aceh and local parliament members took part in a Local Government Leaders Coordination Meeting at the Governor's office on 6-7 August. They discussed the planning of grassroots economic recovery, as well as the building of roads in Central Aceh to put an end to the region's isolation by 2002. Economic recovery will be conducted by assisting the land-less poor, in cooperation with PTP I (Government Plantation Real Estate), to plant palm trees on 340,000 hectares of idle land in all districts of Aceh, except Banda Aceh and Sabang. Palm oil factories will be built to produce palm oil and generate income for the farmers. During the meeting, Drs. Muhammad Yus, the chairman of the provincial parliament (DPRD), suggested moving the provincial capital from Banda Aceh to Takengon, in Central Aceh.
According to the latest OXFAM figures, there are 1,754 IDPs (4,214 families) in Aceh:
- North Aceh: 873 people (230 families)
- Central Aceh: 10,946 people (2,785 families)
- East Aceh: 2,593 people (646 families)
- Aceh Jeumpa: 1,695 people (332 families)
- West Aceh: 647 people (221 families)
4. CENTRAL SULAWESI
The Jakarta Post on 6 August reported that a plan to resolve the three-year-old conflict in Poso by enforcing customary law had received backing from the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta. Members of the DPR's Commission on security affairs aired their support for the proposal at a meeting with non-governmental organisations and community leaders on 3 August. Astrid Susanto, the deputy chairman of the Commission, said it had been a mistake to try to solve local conflicts without taking customary law into account. Community leaders grouped in the Central Sulawesi Customary Council will convene in Wuasa, North Lore sub-district, Poso, on 13 August; 13 DPR representatives are scheduled to attend the meeting.
In Central Sulawesi, WFP are extending their working agreement with implementing partner CWS to provide rice for 35,000 IDPs for an additional 3-month period.
5. IRIAN JAYA
All eyes are now set on the presence of the House of Representatives Special Commission on special autonomy for Papua, which arrived on 8 August and will remain for 3 days to collect data and take note of the aspirations of the Papuans with respect to the draft bill on special autonomy. The commission has held meetings with the Governor, provincial government officials, members of the provincial Parliament (DPRD), the heads (Bupatis) of the 12 districts, as well as religious and community leaders and NGOs. The Vice Chairman of the commission, Drs. Ferry Baldan, confirmed that the proposed share of revenues is 20% for Jakarta and 80% for Papua. After collecting all the necessary information, the Special Commission plans to carry out a comparative study abroad on the same subject, using Scotland as a reference.
X-rays recently taken of people living in 4 villages around Sentani Lake in Jayapura showed that some 30% to 40% of them had tuberculosis. The Healthy Lung Foundation, in cooperation with community health services and related parties, will establish mobile clinics to provide specialized health care in the area.
The provincial Parliament will allocate the funds required to improve the health services of the provincial hospital in Jayapura. The DPRD has in principle agreed to the proposal from the hospital to run a self-management style hospital to overcome shortcomings in terms of services and facilities. The DPRD is considering an additional subsidy to the hospital to provide free medication to the poor.
World Vision International (WVI) in cooperation with UNICEF Jayapura and the provincial government conducted a 2-day seminar on 6-7 August on the Convention on the Rights of Children. The seminar discussed the promotion of child survival, development and protection, including the issuance of birth certificates to all children. Participants also looked at ways to disseminate the Convention in the province and recommended the incorporation of the rights of children in the special autonomy bill for Papua as well as in local laws. Another recommendation was to establish an agency on children in the province and districts.
The Papua Post reported that teachers from elementary schools in Sorong and Wamena staged a demonstration at the local government's office on 7 August demanding payment of their incentives for having worked in isolated places. The payments were delayed due to insufficient funds in the allocated budget.
The situation continued to calm down in Ambon City, although an exchange of fire was heard in the Ahuru/Karang Panjang/Gonzalo area three nights ago. No casualties were reported during the week. Civilian roadblocks have been further relaxed.
On 3 August, rioters attacked Alang Asaude in western Seram. The Civil Emergency Board has confirmed that one TNI soldier was killed, one civilian injured and about 20 houses burned down. This was the third attack on the village, the previous two occurring on 2 August 2000 and 21 February 2001.
In an effort to restrict non-essential travel of foreigners to troubled spots around Indonesia, the authorities in Maluku have now instituted an "immigration" system similar to that in North Maluku. This means that all foreigners arriving in Ambon have to fill in an immigration card and need to be in possession of a valid return ticket.
The Southeast Maluku Social Department reported that since last month the department has transported 235 Teor IDPs living in Tual (Southeast Maluku) back to their hometown in Teor. They are now safe and well accepted by the Muslims in the area.
A weeklong assessment involving the UN Resource Centre, UNICEF, IMC, and the foundations (Yayasans) Pemali and Saniri to southern Buru arrived back in Ambon on 3 August. The team visited Leksula, Waihaolong and Nalbessy along the southern coast, where most acute needs are met. However, UNICEF is contemplating providing communal latrines to a few places. In Leksula many IDPs (from northern Buru) live in Government buildings, which will need to be used soon. Consequently, there is a need to find a solution to provide shelter for these IDPs.
Kase village, which was mostly destroyed in an attack on 1 April 2001, was also visited, as well as three camps with Kase IDPs located up in the mountains. These camps had very poor sanitation although at least they have water from the river. UNICEF will work with Yayasan Saniri to address the sanitation needs. Access is very difficult and it will be very problematic to construct latrines, including bringing the materials up to the camps. The local health centres (puskesmas) in the area are not operating well and the Kase IDPs in particular do not have access to proper health care. They need to walk an hour down to the water to catch a speedboat to Leksula. Alternatively, they need to walk to Leksula over the mountains, which is at least a 4-hour trek. IMC is planning to address these obstacles and reinforce the primary health care services in the area, including by placing a doctor in Leksula.
MSF-B is currently on a four-day water and sanitation assessment mission in western Seram and the Masohi area.
A Mercy Corps mission is still in Southeast Maluku looking at potential project support of water and sanitation, and return activities as well as concluding the OTI/USAid shelter assessments.
Mercy Corps staff have been in western Seram to undertake pre-monitoring of projects.
IMC plans to reactivate the hospital in Masohi, particularly by supporting the emergency wing of it. They will also proceed to Masohi shortly to plan assistance in Central Maluku district (of which Masohi is the capital). At present it appears as though specific support to north and east Seram are most urgent.
Training of vaccinators is proceeding throughout the province with UNICEF support. A mass vaccination campaign will follow in September, with a hope of extending coverage from the current 50% to at least 70%.
In September, UNICEF will support the provincial health authorities to undertake a nutritional assessment of all children in Maluku. Reports have come in of many malnourished children, specifically in west Southeast Maluku district.
ACF has completed its food distribution in Masohi, central Seram and there will now be one final distribution next month. Staff noted the good environment with Christians and Muslims moving around freely in the other communities. Around 15 August, the penultimate distribution will begin on Ambon Island as well, again with a last one planned for September.
Training of enumerators for the WFP-led IDP Livelihood Survey has taken place this past week at the Mercy Corps-run NGO Centre in Ambon. The National Statistics Bureau (BPS) is carrying out the training and most of the survey, with support from UN agencies and NGOs.
ICMC has begun a series of workshops for local NGOs Salawaku and YPPM at the NGO Centre that will run through next weeks. Topics include proposal writing, participatory learning action and strategic planning.
7. NORTH MALUKU
Thousands of people from Jailolo sub-district staged a peaceful protest rally in front of the North Maluku district Legislative Assembly on 4 August in Ternate, demanding that the decision taken on 28 May 2001 by the house to move the North Maluku district headquarters from Ternate to Sofifi in Jailolo sub-district be implemented.
Mr. Sukemi Sahab of the department of Social Welfare of North Maluku district said that the district needed lots of funds to provide public services despite the fact that many IDPs have returned to their home areas. The district government still has to pay bills amounting to Rp5 billion (about US$541,000) for water and electricity believed to have been consumed mainly by IDPs.
IDP Issues/Population Movements
Satkorlak reported that district authorities facilitated the return of 147 households (390 IDPs), both Christian and Moslem, during the period 4-6 August from camp locations to their homes in Jailolo sub-district and 46 Christian households (211 IDPs) from Tobelo to Togawa village in Galela sub-district on 7 August.
The provincial Transmigration Department indicated that as of 25 July, 938 "transmigrant" households (3,596 people) had returned to their homes in North Maluku.
Nine representatives of displaced health professionals from North Maluku living in camps in Manado, North Sulawesi, are on a one-week visit to North Maluku (9-16 August) to assess whether conditions in various sub-districts would allow them to return. The visit is part of a WHO-sponsored programme to support the return of health professionals to the province.
MDM's routine health activities continued in Sahu sub-district and on Makian Island.
IMC doctors and mobile health centers continued routine health activities in Tobelo, Galela, Kao, Daruba, Posi-Posi Rao and Bere-Bere. Upper respiratory infection, skin infections and gastritis are the most frequently reported health problems. In Posi Posi Rao, IMC provided medical shelves for a health centre and recruited a nurse to assist the doctor.
Water and Sanitation
MDM are monitoring the construction of 14 MCKs (washing, bathing and latrine facilities) in the villages of Gamsungi (6) and Marimbati (4) in Jailolo sub-district and Lako Akediri (4) in Sahu sub-district. MDM also plans to rehabilitate 4 health centres in Ibu sub-district.
ACF distributed food, non-food items and agricultural tools in Bacan.
ACF reported that their first Income Generating Programme distribution took place in the 5 villages of Tobo-Tobo, Dedeta, Fitako, Dagauli and Tuakara of Doi Island in Loloda sub-district in July; 509 families received 1,565 chicken and 101 canoes with 84 fishing nets.
ACF distributed rehabilitation shelter kits to 814 families in 15 villages of Jailolo sub-district and one village of Sahu sub-district. ACF have completed an assessment for the reconstruction of houses in East Gane sub-district.
Ir. Joko Kirmanto, Director General of Housing and Settlement at the Ministry of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure stated that his department had allocated Rp 1.5 billion (about US$162,000) for building houses for returnees in North Maluku province. In addition, the North Maluku government will provide 2,150 homes for the IDPs. The package includes Rp 6 million as cash incentives for the returnees to cover the wages of construction workers.
World Vision is preparing a rehabilitation programme for Kao, Tobelo and Galela sub-districts.
8. WEST TIMOR
A Government-led mission consisting of representatives from a number of UN agencies, the European Union and NTT authorities visited (5-8 August) the West and East Sumba districts on Sumba Island, NTT Province. The purpose of the mission was to find out if the local communities are willing to accept the local settlement of East Timorese refugees from West Timor. The mission visited a number of settlement sites and talked to district officials, village leaders and local communities. Of the six villages visited, all but one agreed to receive East Timorese in their villages. However, they expressed concern about their safety and stated that the assistance provided should benefit the refugees and local communities equally.
Some 500 former pro-integration militiamen and their families, originally from the sub-districts of Kovalima, Bobonaro, Oecusi, Los Palos and Alas, now living in Belu district, demonstrated on 7 August in front of the NTT Governor's office. The demonstrators, grouped under the banner of the Indonesian Veteran Legion (LVRI) demanded that the government pay more attention to their future.
Hundreds of former East Timor civil servants residing in Belu district staged a demonstration in front of the Belu District Commissioner's office, protesting against delays in the payment of their salaries. The District Commissioner, Marselus Bere, explained that the delay is due to a police inquiry into cases of fraud, namely payments to former civil servants who have already returned to East Timor.
UNTAET Chief of Staff N. Parameswaran hosted on 7 August a meeting in the village of Salele, on the border between East Timor and Indonesia, between some 250 community representatives from Cova Lima and pro-autonomy leaders including Caetano Mendonça, the former head of the Cova Lima Local Assembly during Indonesian rule, and his son Helio Moniz, deputy chief of public affairs for the pro-autonomy umbrella group UNTAS. The meeting, which was also attended by Xanana Gusmão and other East Timorese national representatives, was branded "very successful and very emotional," by the Chief of Staff. Similar meetings, which are an attempt to convince refugees to come back from camps in West Timor, will be held for all districts of East Timor.
On 3 August Kompas reported that Udayana Military Area Commander Maj. Gen Willem Da Costa had warned the day before in Denpasar that the military would not hesitate to shoot civilians refusing to surrender their weapons when requested to do so by security personnel. Da Costa said he had asked NTT Governor Piet Tallo to inform civilians in West Timor that they are not permitted to carry weapons.
The European Commission has allocated EURO 2.2 million (about US$1.96 million) in support of international NGOs to provide medical care and supplies to IDPs in West Kalimantan and Maluku, drinking water to IDPs and refugees in North Maluku and West Timor respectively, and to improve the nutritional status of refugees in West Timor.
President Megawati signed a decree on 2 August authorising a special human rights court to begin trying cases and widening its scope to enable it to try those involved in bloodshed linked to East Timor's 1999 Popular Consultation. Her senior aide, Bambang Kesowo, said the decree would allow the court, when established, to hear cases for crimes committed in the months of April and September 1999, when most of the massacres were carried out. The first (controversial) decree on the court issued by former President Wahid in April did not cover any time period before the Consultation. The court will be made up of five judges and will be based in the Central Jakarta District Court. The judge originally in charge of setting up the court, Supreme Court justice Syaifuddin Kartasasmita, was assassinated on 26 July and replaced by Judge Benjamin Mangkudilaga, a member of the Human Rights Commission. He told AFP that the court should be ready to start trying suspects in September. State prosecutors have prepared files to prosecute 18 of the 23 suspects they originally named 12 months ago.
On 4 August, a UN Military Observers (UNMO) Investigation Team reported its findings into an incident on 28 July at the border between East and West Timor, involving an exchange of fire by the UN Peacekeeping Force (PKF) with a TNI soldier wearing civilian clothes, who was shot dead. They concluded that the UN peacekeepers had acted within reasonable grounds, in engaging a man who they believed had fired on them from West Timor. The investigation established that the exchange of fire took place across the border but that the PKF patrol remained at all times on the East Timor side of the border. The Army deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, told the Jakarta Post on 6 August that he regrets the reluctance of the PKF to launch a joint investigation into the shooting and the issuance of a statement before a joint investigation.
This report and all previous ones can be found on OCHA's website at www.reliefweb.int
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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