Returns: The total number of organised and spontaneous returns into East Timor from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia, Macau and Australia now stands at 153, 437persons. Of this number 108,241 persons returned in an organized manner and 44,730 persons returned spontaneously. On 18 March, 343 refugees returned from Kupang to Dili aboard the IOM-operated ship the "Patricia Anne Hotung." A further 229 persons returned from Betun in West Timor through the border crossing at Salele on IOM-chartered trucks. Of this number 136 persons were transported onwards to Zumalai, 3 to Ainaro, 18 to Cassa, 35 to Suai, 8 to Tafara, 3 to Lakonak and 6 to Kamenafa. Secondary transportation was provided from the Dili Transit Centre for 20 persons to Viqueque, 20 persons to Same, 172 to the Dili area. On 19 March, a total of 44 persons were provided transportation to the Dili area. On 20 March, a total of 451 persons returned from Atambua to Batugade on IOM-chartered trucks. Secondary transportation was provided for 130 persons travelling from the Dili Transit Centre to Same, 15 to Liquica, 19 to Palaka, and 11 to Atabae. One person travelled by helicopter to Oecusse/Ambeno enclave.
Shelter/Non-food items: In the Ambeno enclave, the NGO German Agro Action (GAA) delivered wooden poles for the construction of 250 traditional houses in the village of Nonquican, located in the Bobometo area. Each family receives 12 timber poles. The 159 MTs of timber were transported on 8 March from Kupang to Oecusse town by road. On 12 March, UNHCR trucks began transporting the timber to Nonquican. Distribution of timber is expected to be completed by the end of March. In addition, GAA also started distributing 838 family kits comprising stoves, kerosene (10 litres per family) cutlery, crockery, and tarpaulins to 8 locations around the enclave. Distribution of these non-food items will be completed by 27 March.
Education: The distribution of 600 UNICEF "school-in-a-box" kits, 400 instructor's kits and bongo drums, and 2,000 UNHCR kitchen kits for school feeding commenced on 18 March. Materials will be distributed to all 13 Districts. UNICEF has also completed the distribution of 136,456 individual stationary kits to 12 Districts. Supplies for Oecusse/Ambeno will be transported there on the next barge.
Agriculture: A US veterinary team arrived on 20 March in East Timor for an 8-day assessment mission. In close collaboration with FAO and the UNTAET agriculture unit, animal husbandry and health in the Dili area will be examined. Samples for disease analysis will be taken and sent to a laboratory abroad.
A FAO consultant will arrive on 22 March to assess the current situation with regard to small-scale fisheries in East Timor. Recommendations for rehabilitation of the sector will be made and project proposals are to be included in the upcoming CAP review.
As of 21 March, the UNTAET Agricultural Department will chair the weekly Agricultural Committee meeting, formerly chaired by FAO.