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 over 155, 800 persons.
On 25 March, a total of 243 persons were provided transportation
on an IOM-chartered barge from Suai to Betano. Secondary movements
from the Dili Transit Centre were provided for 76 persons to Lospalos,
39 persons to Maubisse, 38 persons to Ermera and 5 persons to Maubisse.
On 26 March, a total of 255 persons were transported on the IOM-chartered
barge from Suai to Betano. On 27 March, a total of 480 persons
returned from Atambua to Batugade on IOM-chartered trucks. Secondary
movements were provided for 3 persons travelling from the Dili Transit
Centre to Fatusin near Dili. There are currently 572 returnees
in the Dili Transit Centre awaiting secondary transportation to their
homes of origin. Of this number some 450 are destined for Aileu.
Shelter: The first of two convoys with shelter materials for the CARE shelter programme in Covalima District is expected to cross the border from West Timor to East Timor on 26 March. The second convoy is expected on 28 March. Indications are that this may be the last overland transport of shelter materials for this programme from West Timor.
Food: CARE has announced that it will close its warehouse in Lospalos due to a substantial increase in rent. The NGO is currently looking for alternative warehouse space to preposition food stocks in the port town of Com. In the meantime; deliveries will be made directly from Dili to Lospalos. The impact of greater transport facilities is being offset by an anticipated decrease in food programmes in the district.
The joint WFP/FAO food and crop assessment commenced on 27 March and will be completed in a fortnight. Interested parties will be invited to a thorough debriefing on the assessment's findings and recommendations at the end of the mission.
WFP is currently strengthening its VAM (Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping) programme. WFP's Jakarta-based VAM officer is currently in East Timor on a one-month mission to establish a VAM workplan for the East Timor operation for the coming year.
Health: In an effort to coordinate and standardise the training of health professionals in East Timor, the Interim Health Authority has appealed to organisations active in the health sector to provide accurate information with regard to their current and planned health training activities.
Infrastructure/Employment: An Australian company will employ 100 workers for 30 working days to conduct clean-ups of the Manatuto-Natarbora road. The roads to Laclo and Soibada will also be cleared of overgrowth along the roadsides and cleaning of storm drains. JICA plans to employ 360 workers for 40 working days to conduct clean-ups on the Dili-Baucau road within Manatuto District. USAID's Transitional Employment Programme (TEP) will employ approximately 300 persons, mostly youths, for the clean up of public property in Manatuto town.