On 2 March, 70 people crossed the border from Atambua to Batugade. Everyone travelled on to the border towns of Balibo and Maliana. IOM provided secondary transportation for 25 persons travelling from the Dili Transit Centre to Turiscai and for 88 persons travelling to Ermera. On 3 March, 95 persons crossed into East Timor at Batugade on IOM-chartered trucks. Secondary transportation was provided by IOM for nine persons travelling from the Dili Transit Centre to Maubisse and for one person travelling from Dili to Lospalos. As of 3 March, some 149,125 persons have returned to East Timor from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia and Australia through organized air, land and sea movements.
Quick Impact Projects (QIPs): The joint UNHCR, OCHA and UNTAET Quick Impact Projects for East Timor, targeted at creating employment generation schemes and community empowerment, has now been operational for one month. During this period, a standardised proposal and guidelines have been developed, agreed and circulated to all 13 Districts. All District Administrator's (DAs), Humanitarian Affairs Officers (HAOs) and other associated individuals/groups have been briefed by the QIPs coordinator on the standardised format and the guidelines for preparing Quick Impact Project proposals. DAs have been advised that of the USD 150,000 fund provided by OCHA through the UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar USD 10,000 is available on signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Dili. To date, four Districts have collected all or part of their share of the fund. More than ten proposals have been approved by the DAs using OCHA funds, which include bamboo furniture making in Manatuto, airport expansion and road repair in the Ambeno enclave (employing 280 workers), road repair in Bobonaro, establishment of a restaurant and road rehabilitation in Aileu and market renovation in Lautem. The UNTAET Trust Fund has received over 30 proposals and has met three times to recommend projects to the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG). To date, ten proposals have been recommended for approval by the SRSG, including, a cassava milling plant for Same, a variety of public works type projects (roads, public building repair) in Viqueque, and market and road repair for Lospalos and the Ambeno enclave.
Community Assistance: In January, AusAID launched the East Timor Community Assistance Scheme (ETCAS). The ETCAS will provide direct assistance from the Government of Australia to small developmental activities in East Timor. The Scheme aims to respond directly and quickly to eligible proposals from community and church groups and East Timorese NGOs. Grants up to A$10,000 will normally be provided for individual activities or projects, which are appraised and approved by AusAID at the Australian Mission in Dili. For organisations with a strong track record in managing and implementing projects, grants of up to A$ 20,000 will be considered. AusAID has disbursed funds through the first round of this project. Successful activities include: the rehabilitation of a health centre/dispensary in Ainaro; the rehabilitation and resourcing of a research and development/resource centre in Same to assist jobseekers; a malaria resistance study; translators in the NGO Coordination Centre; training in sewing in Baucau; and training in media, computing and English language for a democracy focused East Timorese NGO.
Employment: USAID/OTI (Office of Transition Initiatives) has begun to implement its Transitional Employment Programme (TEP) in East Timor. This joint UNTAET-East Timorese-USAID collaboration will provide immediate employment projects/public works in key sectors for large numbers of East Timorese (particularly youth). Key sectors initially identified include: road clean up and rehabilitation; drainage system clean up and maintenance; sports association establishment and facilities rehabilitation; school roofing and other structural requirements; neighbourhood clean ups and tearing down of unsafe, devastated public buildings; and community market place rehabilitation. This project will be undertaken in two phases. Phase I will establish a general plan determining best practices, budgeting and staffing needs beginning with pilot projects in Liquica, Aileu and Ermera, while during Phase II of the programme will be expanded to include the remaining 10 Districts of East Timor. The TEP programme is currently progressing quickly and is already expanding beyond Phase I. Projects will be coming on-line shortly in Baucau, Lospalos and Dili.
Health: Another case of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) has been reported from Dili. The child, a boy of 23 months, was admitted to the Dili Central Hospital (Tokubaru Hospital) on 29 February with Grade 2 DHF and serological confirmation via the rapid IgM test. He has had no history of travel outside Dili.
The refurbishment of the building for the National Drug Warehouse, which is supported by UNICEF and implemented by GOAL is progressing well and is expected to be completed by mid-March. The facility will be provided with drugs and medical supplies with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNICEF and UNTAET.
UNICEF provides support for the re-establishment of the Dili Central Laboratory, located next to the Dili Hospital, in cooperation with the Menzies School of Research, Darwin. Currently the main objective is to ensure that the facility has sufficient chemicals and supplies and technical assistance for the next six months. The broader, medium-term plan is to refurbish the Dili Central Laboratory and restore some of the functions performed before August 1999. These include basic clinical testing for haematology, biochemistry and microbiology, the training of health clinic laboratory staff and the supervision of quality control for clinic and hospital laboratories.
Child Rights and Protection: A child rights and protection officer has joined the UNICEF team on a two-year posting to Dili. The ongoing transition back to relative normalcy has allowed UNICEF to make rapid progress in developing child rights and protection activities. These include the development of child friendly spaces for children ages 0-18, where they can engage in structured recreational and educational activities, as well as have access to basic primary health and nutrition services. Such a centre has been established in January in the Komoro area of Dili operated by the Christian Children's Fund (CCF). UNICEF also supports the East Timorese Women's Group "FOKUPERS," which is currently re-establishing a women's shelter in Dili for victims of sexual abuse and violence. Currently, the distribution of materials on the Convention on the Rights of the Child to education coordinators, teachers and NGOs is ongoing across East Timor.
Education: UNICEF and its implementing partners have distributed 70.5 MTs of timber to reconstruct schools in 10 Districts (Maliana, Manufahi, Dili, Liquica, Baucau, Los Palos, Viqueque, Ermera, Aileu and Ainaro).
Shelter: Under the UNHCR shelter programme, the distribution of shelter kits is ongoing in Liquica District through Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), in Manatuto District through Action Contre La Faim (ACF) and Aileu District through GOAL. To date, 2,165 MTs of building materials have collected by these agencies for distribution. In addition, IRC has received 200 MTs of materials for distribution in Oecusse. CONCERN has received 1,400 MTs of materials in Com for distribution by IRC and CONCERN in Lautem District and CONCERN in Baucau District. A total of 320 MTs of materials have been transported to Betano, for distribution by TIMOR AID in Ainaro and Manufahi Districts.
To date, 868 shelter kits have been distributed in Lautem District, 40 in Baucau, 361 in Aileu, 270 in Oecusse, 731 in Liquica, 95 in Manatuto, 20 in Dili, 23 in Manufahi and 87 in Ainaro District. Of the total of 2,495 shelter kits distributed, 303 beneficiary families have completed construction of their shelters.
The ICRC shelter programme has provided 1,122 shelter kits in Ermera, Liquica, Dili, Aileu and Bobonaro Districts. At the end of March, the ICRC will begin the second phase of its shelter programme whereby some 3,000 additional shelter kits will be distributed.
Infrastructure: A bridge on the Ermera-Hotalia road collapsed on 28 February causing serious disruption to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Hatolia sub-district in Ermera. Immediate attention is needed for road rehabilitation in the Ermera District, which has seen some of the severest deterioration of roads in East Timor as a result of the rainy season. Consequently, the implementation of the shelter programme in Hatolia will be delayed. It should be noted that the ICRC shelter programme in Atsabe has been on hold for several weeks now as a result of inaccessibility and further deterioration of the Ermera-Atsabe road. The UNDP road rehabilitation project in Ermera is currently concentrating on the Ermera-Dili access where the road surface had seriously deteriorated continues to progress well.