Food Assistance and Nutrition: As part of on-going efforts to clarify food policies, a meeting was held yesterday between the Humanitarian Pillar, WFP and a senior CNRT representative. The shift to vulnerable group feeding (VGF) and food-for-work was agreed. Strategies for explaining the policy to the general population were also discussed. Despite reports of shortages, villages in Aileu District refused this week to accept maize, sending the fully loaded convoys back to Dili.
The nutrition working group reconvened yesterday to assess malnutrition in East Timor following reports from IMC, World Vision, WFP and MSF. The OCHA representative from Jakarta also attended the meeting to brief on malnutrition in the refugee camps near Atambua and Kupang in West Timor. Agencies confirmed that malnutrition has appeared among limited numbers of children under five in Bobonaro District, Lausan in Ermera District and Baki in the Ambeno enclave. In all but one case, malnutrition has appeared with other illnesses. In most of the cases, the affected children had returned from the poorest camps in West Timor where conditions are sub- standard.
The working group, under the chairmanship of ACF, has agreed on a four-pronged strategy. As a first step, surveillance will be intensified. Teams assessing vulnerability for VGF will be asked to survey nutrition conditions among at-risk populations. Urgent steps involving therapeutic and supplementary feeding will be taken in areas with reported cases of severe and moderate malnutrition. The East Timorese Health Professionals Working Group will be approached to assist with the development of community health workers who will become responsible for outreach and education. A long-term campaign to educate mothers about appropriate breast- feeding and weening procedures is also planned.
Returns: On 27 January, 100 persons entered East Timor at Salele before travelling to Hatahudo. In secondary movements, IOM transported 177 persons from Dili to Bazartete, Aileu, Manatuto, Ainaro and Turiscai.
On 28 January, 71 persons crossed the border at Batugade. A total of 457 persons were transported from Kefamenanu to Tono in the Ambeno enclave. A third land convoy transported 252 persons from Betun to Salele. Secondary transportation was provided for 53 persons to Los Palos, Liquica and Galeno. INTERFET helicopters moved 22 persons from the Dili transit centre to Oekussi and 21 persons to Same.
Currently, 86 persons await secondary transportation from the Dili centre to Liquica, Suai, Viqueque, Baucau and Los Palos The total number of returnees now stands at 132, 476.
Returns into the Ambeno enclave have been impeded by heavy rains which have flooded the crossing routes into Passabe and Citrana. Harassment is also continuing. Yesterday, a small crowd massed at the border, threatening to attack East Timorese villages.
Agriculture: In its last situation report, the Humanitarian Pillar incorrectly indicated that buffaloes in Viqueque were afflicted by diphtheria. At present, the disease is still unidentified. A veterinarian is travelling to the Delor sub-district tomorrow to assess the situation. WHO is also sending an epidemiologist to assess whether the disease is affecting the local population.
CARE teams are currently in Viqueque procuring rice seeds for distribution to farmers in Los Palos. Although most seed-deficit areas have now received supplies of unhusked rice for planting, 30-40 MTs are still required for Bobonaro District. Several Districts including Liquica and Bobonaro urgently require traditional tools for the planting season. The embargo on importation of machetes is currently being discussed by senior policy-makers in INTERFET and UNTAET.
Water and Sanitation: In Maliana, OXFAM has successfully repaired water transmission lines recently damaged by heavy rain. OXFAM engineers have also connected the main hospital, central market and two schools to the water system. Assessments are underway in Maubara, Bazartete, Dili and Oekussi. Repairs to the town distribution system in Suai are on-going and a team of five technicians is rehabilitating the system in Oekussi. Working closely with the CNRT and District Administration, OXFAM is helping to establish maintenance teams for each sub-district in Liquica. Procedures are also being agreed for leak-detection of piped systems. ACF is conducting an assessment this week in Gleno and has completed well rehabilitation in Manatuto.
Health: According to WHO, 45 cases of measles have been reported during the past two weeks. The MDM hospital in Los Palos has confirmed one case of Paragonimus westermani, a flatworm parasite which is transmitted to humans through crabs and crayfish. German Doctors for Developing Countries report three suspected cases of whooping cough in Venilale near Baucau.
Logistics: On 27 and 28 January, the WFP helicopter dispatched 43 MTs of rice, beans and maize to Gildapil, Hatas and Colima. WFP trucks transported a total of 107.4 MTs of beans and rice to Maliana, Maubisse and Liquica. The WFP barge is currently loading 200 MTs of cereals for Carabella which is the port for Baucau.
Humanitarian Assistance & Emergency Rehabilitation Pillar
Fax: + 872 762 280 454
Tel: + 872 762 135 011