Returns: As of 6 March, some 149, 378 persons have repatriated to East Timor in an organized manner from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia and Australia. On 4 March, 271 persons returned to Dili from Kupang on the IOM operated ship, the "Patricia Anne Hotung." A total of 389 persons crossed from Atambua into East Timor at Batugade on IOM chartered trucks. Currently 91 persons are awaiting transportation at the Dili Transit Centre to Viqueque, Ermera, Aileu, and Baucau.
Reproductive Health: During the acute emergency phase, UNFPA handed out emergency RH kits for clean and safe deliveries in health facilities and at home. UNICEF assisted in their distribution and many international and national NGOs distributed them to their clinics and midwives. Regarding the long-term development of the RH sector, UNFPA has been involved in the establishment of the Interim Health Authority in close cooperation with the East Timorese Health Professionals Working Group, WHO, UNICEF, MSF-Holland, Oxfam and UNTAET. Reproductive health will have a prominent position in both clinical services and public health in East Timor, to be delivered at the primary health care level. During the course of the year, UNFPA will work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to procure medical equipment and supplies, and on the training of approximately 700 nurses and midwives in skills-upgrading courses in reproductive health. UNFPA will assist advanced nursing students to complete their studies in Indonesia, as well as fund study tours within the region and send academy-trained nurses and midwives abroad for advance diploma courses. UNFPA will also work with UNTAET on preparing for a Demographic Health Survey.
This week, UNFPA and the Reproductive Health Working Group have launched a highly targeted condom distribution campaign in Dili. This will be supplemented by a sexual health briefing for UN, NGO and private sector staff.
Nutrition: In Covalima District, Peace Keeping Force field medics, in cooperation with the Interim Health Authority community nurses, are currently undertaking a crude district-wide baseline nutritional survey (MUAC 1-5 yrs.). Objectives are: to help identify geographical areas which may require further nutritional investigation/targeting, to highlight any differences in nutritional status between inaccessible areas and administrative centres; and create a preliminary database of 1-5 year olds which could be used for future intervention programmes such as Vitamin A and parasite prevention and control. Survey results are expected before the end of the harvest at the end of March.
Agriculture: The FAO agriculture specialist completed a rapid crop assessment of Bobonaro and Covalima Districts over the weekend. In both areas, except for returnees who came back late or for families cultivating marginal rice areas, household food production is tending to go back to normal. Disabled hand tractors are often non-functional due to a lack of fan belts or small spare parts. A short-term mission by a mechanical engineer could produce a list of needed spare parts. The procurement of such inexpensive and common spare parts could certainly rehabilitate a significant number of power tillers. The mechanical mobile brigade (6 brigades of 15 engines) expected to be operative in April should go in priority to Maliana area.
Logistics: Between 28 and 4 March, WFP helicopters delivered some 75.9 MTs of food to Ermera and Bobonaro Districts. Between 29 and 6 March, WFP truck convoys moved 80 MTs of food to Baucau and Maliana Districts. The WFP barge, the "ET Carrier" delivered 300 MTs of food to Oecusse, Suai and Betano between 3 and 6 March.