Agriculture: A US Army mission comprising two veterinarians will conduct an assessment on the animal health situation, particularly in the Dili region from 21 to 29 March. The recommendations by this mission will complement a foreseen FAO project entitled "Urgent Veterinary Infrastructure Rehabilitation." This project aims at rehabilitating the veterinary service and at implementing a cattle vaccination campaign. The project document has been completed and is currently being circulated amongst the donor community.
Health: The health NGO MERLIN has commenced training in malaria microscopy for 13 laboratory technicians in collaboration with the Dili Central Laboratory. On completion of training on 17 March, the laboratory technicians will begin to work in the districts in collaboration with several health NGOs. Microscopes and laboratory reagents will be sent to each location with the technicians. The presence of these technicians and the equipment will allow for a system of malaria diagnosis around selected areas in East Timor. MERLIN will conduct routine field visits to the various sites to monitor the progress of the technicians and provide additional training as required. In addition, MERLIN has a contingency stock of anti-malarials, which are now being distributed. MERLIN will soon commence a malaria prevalence study in Manufahi District and will also be embarking on a chloroquine resistance study.
Infrastructure: Under the UNDP road rehabilitation project, major emergency road works have been completed at five sites on the road between Railako to Gleno and on the road from Gleno to Ermera. A further three sites are currently under construction. On the Aileu-Maubisse road two sites have been rehabilitated with an additional three sites currently under way. Both projects, funded by the Government of Norway are due to be completed at the beginning of April following a two-month implementation period. A third UNDP road rehabilitation project for the Dili-Aileu road, also funded by the Government of Norway, will be implemented between 20 March and 23 April.
Logistics: On 13 March, the WFP barge, the "ET Carrier" loaded 200 MTs of maize, pulses and oil. The barge is expected to depart Dili harbour on 14 March and is due to arrive in Oecusse on 15 March.