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UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar - Situation Report: East Timor Crisis 04-05 Jan 2000

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General: The two most under-serviced areas in East Timor remain the Ambeno enclave and Ainaro district. Although several NGOs, UN Agencies and the ICRC continue to cover many needs in the food, health and shelter sectors, current humanitarian coverage is inadequate to meet pressing problems. Access remains the key factor constraining humanitarian operations. As a result of rain and other damage, only light vehicles can use roads into Ainaro, limiting the ability of agencies to transport supplies. In Oekussi, access is limited to the UNTAET helicopter and WFP barge. The small number of seats on the helicopter and recent restrictions on NGO use have undermined relief efforts by delaying deployment of key personnel.
The first meeting of the Quick Impact Project (QIP) Working Group was held today. Five separate sources of QIP funds are either currently, or, will be shortly available. Projects operated under the auspices of OCHA, UNHCR, AusAid, the World Bank and the UNTAET Trust Fund aim to lay the foundations for long-term development and community empowerment. Terms of reference for each stream are being finalised, with the OCHA QIPS due to begin next week. District Administrators will manage these first QIPs, which are small-scale and designed to demonstrate UNTAET's responsiveness to community needs, with full support from the UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar.

Security: A two-hour demonstration was held today outside UNTAET headquarters in Dili. Demonstrators protested wages, unemployment, food distributions and delivery of shelter materials. Several burglaries and assaults against foreign nationals in Dili have been reported and are being investigated by Civilian Police. Expatriate humanitarian personnel have been requested to take normal preventative steps to ensure personal security.

Returns: On 4 January, 43 persons crossed from Betun to Suai. At Batugade, 171 persons entered from Atambua in West Timor. A total of 80 returnees crossed into the Ambeno enclave. In secondary movements, INTERFET transported the final group of Same returnees who have been residing at the Dili transit centre for several weeks.

Today, an IOM-chartered aircraft returned 86 persons from Kupang to Dili. UNHCR reported that 207 persons entered at Batugade and 84 persons crossed from Kefamananu into the Ambeno enclave. In secondary movements, four persons were moved by helicopter to Viqueque, 43 from Salele to Suai and one person was transported to Ermera. Currently, 46 returnees remain at the Dili transit centre awaiting secondary movement to Manatuto, Ermera and Los Palos. The total number of returnees is now 126,628.

Logistics: On its first operational day after the holiday season, the WFP helicopter delivered 15 MTs of milled rice to Viqueque. The rice, which was transported on behalf of OIKOS, will be distributed to farmers participating in the seed swap programme. In exchange for the milled rice delivered today, 20 MTs of paddy seed will be moved from Viqueque tomorrow to the seed-deficit areas of Same and Ainaro. Tomorrow's deliveries mark the end of seed transfers from Viqueque.

Ermera: On 4 January, a joint team from CNRT, WFP, World Vision and the Humanitarian Pillar visited Ermera to clarify food assistance policy. During a meeting with local CNRT officials that chaired by the District Administrator, agreement was reached on a distribution schedule for the food stocks held in the district's three warehouses.

Dili representatives explained that general distributions will no longer be held in the district once the final 10-12 villages have received their first distribution. In an effort to avoid dependency and promote self-reliance, general distributions are being replaced by two new programmes--vulnerability feeding and food-for-work. The criteria for these new programmes were discussed in depth.

Shelter: The CNRT's Melbourne chapter is helping to rebuild homes for 38 female-headed households in Passabe in the Ambeno enclave. Following reports that some materials may be sub-standard, the CNRT and shelter agencies will visit the UNHCR warehouse tomorrow to assess the quality of recently arrived supplies.