Report on Joint Assessment Mission to Maluku and North Maluku Provinces (22-27 Jan 2000)


1. The mission consisted of 21 members1 and divided into two separate teams. One team visited the Ambon Island, especially the capital Ambon itself. Part of this team also went to Masuhi on Seram Island, the capital of Central Maluku District.

2. The other team visited Ternate and Tidore islands in North Maluku. It was not possible to visit the main island of Halmahera, notably, North Halmahera, the area most effected by the violence during the last month. On its way back to Jakarta, this mission visited camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Sulawesi, in Manado and Bitung.

3. Both teams visited hospitals, health clinics, IDP camps and all relevant government offices. The Governor of Maluku twice received the mission, which also met with national and the two international non-governmental organisations working on Ambon Island for IDPs and other persons in need. Relevant documents were provided to the mission, including presentations of plans, programmes and requirements for the year 2000.

4. The mission coincided with a two-day visit of Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri to Ambon, to Tual in South-East Maluku, to Ternate and to Jailolo in North Halmahera. This visit was part of the efforts of the Government of Indonesia not only to provide relief and rehabilitation assistance but also to promote reconciliation efforts. A number of ministers traveled with the vice-president, and the mission benefitted from the perspective of government concerns and policies provided by the Minister for Settlements and Regional Development, Ms. Erna Witolear, who returned from Ternate to Ambon to join a visit of four diplomats and the WFP Representative, led by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Ravi Rajan.


A) Main Observations on Existing Strengths and Opportunities:

  • There is strong intra-communal solidarity, which has greatly facilitated the provision of assistance and continuation of services;
  • Conflict had eased in Tual (not visited by the mission): why? Any ‘lessons’ to be learnt?
  • There are a few contact points between the two main communities in Ambon, notably the governor’s office, the military hospital as well as some civil society groups, such as the "Group of Caring Women" (GPP);
  • There are existing media outlets, particularly in Ambon (no local newspapers were on sale in Ternate), through which information can be and is provided;

B) Concerns and Constraints:

  • Conflict was ongoing in areas other than Ambon Island; spreading effect. The spreading is done by individuals as well as by information or misinformation. Segregation of communities now also on Seram Island, whereas in Ternate and Buru, the minority have left. The current situation in many areas, such as Bacan and North Halmahera is less known;
  • Polarized and segregated community; stand-off in Ambon along dividing lines with burned out and empty building shells. Separation extending to all areas of community life, including the economy, education and other services;
  • The media are becoming divided with ensuing risk of separate messages;
  • The separation into two communities, including the separation of social services, has severely effected coordination of public service activities;
  • There is no longer any revenue for the local authorities, due to the breakdown of economic life;
  • There is inadequate representation of international humanitarian agencies.

C) Relief Situation and Findings:

  • There are some 370,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of the conflict in Maluku, of whom some 246,000 remain in the two Maluku provinces and 123,000 have escaped to Sulawesi. Their needs vary and include relief as well as rehabilitation and support for economic integration;
  • Relief delivery: well covered on Ambon Island, through support and distribution systems established during 1999 – critical on Ternate Island, and likely to be even more acute in areas which could not yet be visited such as Halmahera and Bacan islands in North Maluku and on Seram Island in Central Maluku;
  • There are little or no signs of malnutrition in Ambon, cases of malnutrition were observed in Ternate;
  • The mission identified overall needs of some US$ 83.4 Million, of which funding is available for some $ 12.4 Million from the government budget or through committed international assistance. The needs are broken down as follows:
Reconstruction & Rehabilitation
Income Generation & Comm. Recov.
Capacity Building & Emerg. Mgment

D) Main Recommendations:

  • Relief activities must be continued and expanded to North Maluku. An efficient and well-monitored delivery system must be established and agreed upon; the respective roles of the government, PMI, the UN, ICRC and NGOs should be defined;
  • Urgent funding is needed for all relief programmes, especially in the areas of food, health and water & sanitation;
  • The Government’s comprehensive strategy of security, reconciliation and prosperity (relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction) should be supported;
  • While comprehensive efforts to remedy the situation are ongoing and should be supported, preparedness must also be undertaken for a further expansion of relief requirements;
  • National and local reconciliation efforts and initiatives should be supported by or through the UN system and close collaboration be established between the Office of the Vice-President and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator. Support may be granted to civil society and grass roots initiatives as well as to more official initiatives, such as the PRS;
  • Reconstruction should be initiated, recognising that some of this may have to be undertaken in new areas, as many IDPs may not return to their original homes in the immediate future; government allocation of some $ 8.1 Million should be supplemented by international assistance;
  • Security is a crucial factor and a national responsibility. Linked to this is the importance of establishing a functioning justice system, which would include the punishment of perpetrators of violence.


1.The participants came from the Office of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Bakornas ( the government office for the coordination of disaster management), the Ministry of Health, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Human Settlement and Regional Development, the Armed Forces (TNI), the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and ICRC.

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, 7 Feb 2000 [pdf format]

Coordination Meeting on National and International Support to Maluku, , 13 Jan 2000