General: Under the leadership of
WFP, humanitarian agencies confirmed today the decision to distribute
food assistance on the basis of assessed need. Agencies will continue
to provide general distributions to all areas that have not yet received
a tranche of food aid. In communities where general distributions have
already occurred, agencies will shift to vulnerable group feeding
and food-for-work schemes. Technical assessments are planned during
coming weeks for areas experiencing food deficits and malnutrition.
The Nutrition Working Group is being reconvened in response to reports of moderate and severe malnutrition in certain locations in Ermera and Oekussi districts. Preliminary assessments indicate that many of the malnourished children are recent returnees from West Timor, particularly the camps near Atambua and Kefamananu. Colleagues from agencies working in West Timor are invited to attend this week's meeting (27 January) to develop an integrated strategy for
UNICEF's Executive Director, Carol Bellamy, today concluded her two- day visit to East Timor, the first visit by the head of a United Nations Agency since the ballot in August. Ms. Bellamy travelled to Manatuto, where UNICEF is providing building materials for a primary school, which is being reconstructed by the Philippine contingent of INTERFET. Ms. Bellamy also opened a UNICEF-supported centre for children in Dili, which will be run by the Christian Children's Fund (CCF) before departing for West Timor where she will visit refugee camps and meet with representatives of humanitarian agencies. The Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mr. Brunson McKinley arrived in Dili from West Timor today. His two-day visit will include meetings with representatives of the CNRT and the international community. In addition to assisting the return of refugees from West Timor, Mr. McKinley confirmed that IOM will broaden its programme to include demobilisation, community development and migration management.
Oekussi: The Oekussi Task Force met again today to plan the technical assessment of the enclave. The Humanitarian Pillar, in partnership with four NGOs, will lead the two-week mission. Random sampling will be used to establish priorities in the sectors of food security, shelter, income generation and infrastructure. In a positive development, additional seats on the UNTAET helicopter have temporarily improved access for humanitarian agencies. Efforts continue to find medium-term solutions.
Returns: On 24 January, three organised land convoys occurred. A total of 119 returnees were transported on IOM-chartered trucks from Wini to Maubara. A second land convoy transported 109 persons from Atambua to Dili. A third convoy moved refugees from Betun to Suai. Currently, 38 persons await onward movement at the Dili transit centre. The total number of returnees to East Timor now stands at 130,849 persons.
During a routine security check this weekend, INTERFET found bladed weapons in the luggage of returnees from Kupang to Los Palos. The weapons were confiscated.
Logistics: On 22 and 24 January, WFP moved 105 MTs of maize by road to Baucau and Maliana. On 22 January, the WFP helicopter despatched 18.9 MTs of rice and beans to Atsabe, Hatolia, and Hauba. On 24 January, 36.8 MTs were despatched by air to Allimbata and Betano. The WFP barge, the ET Carrier, is currently being loaded with 195 MTs of assorted commodities which are scheduled to arrive in Oekussi on Wednesday 26 January.
Shelter: Shelter materials continue to be distributed by the eight NGOs working under the UNHCR shelter programme. To date, Peace Winds Japan and GOAL have distributed material for 800 units in Liquica and Aileu districts. In Covalima district, CARE, which is working outside the UNHCR umbrella, has helped with the reconstruction of 130 homes.
On 23 January, IRC received the first barge shipment of 100 MTs of shelter materials in the Ambeno enclave. Discussions are continuing with several NGOs to decide which organisation will take the lead in Viqueque district. ICRC is committed to providing materials for 5,000 units in the western sector including 2,000 units in Covalima, 2,500 in Bobonaro and 500 in Ainaro.
In addition to the main warehouse at Tibar near Dili, central distribution points (CDP) are being established at Com and Suai. A warehouse in Oekussi has already been upgraded. A fourth CDP will be shortly established at Betano. UNHCR estimates that in coming months, 15,000 units will be despatched from the Dili warehouse; 9,000 from Com; 10,000 from Suai, 1,000 from Oekussi; and 10,000 from Betano.
Infrastructure: Under the auspices of a UNDP project, road repairs are due to begin shortly on the Dili to Ermera route followed by the main arterial roads radiating out from Maliana. Five other key transport routes, including roads from Baucau to Los Palos, Baucau to Viqueque, Maubisse to Same, Ainaro to Suai and Manatuto to Soibada, have been identified as top priorities.
Health: WHO reports that last week's suspected polio cases have been found to be associated with other enterovirus, not the polio enterovirus.
Agriculture: Timorese veterinarians
report that more than 100 buffaloes have died from septicemia in
Lacluta sub-district near Viqueque. An additional 300 buffaloes appear
to be affected. The Agricultural Working Group is taking urgent steps to
locate appropriate antibiotics and vaccines.