Returns: On 14 December, 96 persons returned by air from Kupang to Dili. In an IOM organised movement, 650 returnees were transferred from Atambua to Batugade. In other organised movements by land, 197 persons arrived from Betun to Suai and 16 from Betun to Batugade. In the Ambeno enclave, a total of 56 returnees entered on 14 December. Today, an IOM chartered flight moved 88 refugees from Kupang to Dili. Approximately 200 returnees crossed from Betun to Suai. In secondary movements, 206 returnees were moved by INTERFET landing craft from Suai to Same. Currently, 310 persons remain at the Don Bosco transit centre awaiting secondary movement. The total number of returnees to East Timor is now 117,353.
Logistics: The WFP helicopter moved 6.1 MTs of food supplies to Soibada and 6.7 MTs in Manatuto district and 14.9 MTs to Baboe Leten in Ermera district. In WFP organised convoys, 40 MTs of food stocks were transported to Maliana and 40 MTs to Liquica. As a result of increasing activity at Dili harbour, a meeting was held today to discuss port management. The meeting, which was attended by representatives from both civilian and military agencies, discussed asset-sharing and prioritisation. With the withdrawal of INTERFET and the possible privatisation of the port, humanitarian agencies may be required in coming months to pay for port facilities.
Water and Sanitation: In a major step-forward, OXFAM was able to pump water for the first time from the southern cross tank in Suai town, dramatically improving the quantity of potable water. An OXFAM assessment team completed surveys this week of Same, Ainaro and Bobonaro. The team reported that conditions are relatively good in urban locations but expressed concern about several transit camps which have appeared on the roadside close to Zumalai in Covalima district.
Meetings with Timorese staff from the former public works department continued with the aim of developing a solid waste management system for Dili. OXFAM is continuing to provide tools and fittings to local tradesmen in Suai and Maliana to rehabilitate water systems. In Liquica, OXFAM is reclaiming galvanised piping and has connected the borehole to an electrical power source. Water tanks were also cleaned this week in Maliana, Liquica and Suai.
Health: An epidemiologist from WHO is currently conducting a vector survey of mosquitoes in Dili. Following reports that proper procedures are not being followed in certain remote health facilities, the health coordination committee will train local health personnel in order to instil best practises.
Seeds: Agencies report that only 60 MTs of rice paddies have been collected in Viqueque as part of the swamp programme. Agronomists estimate that 200 MTs of paddies are required as rice seeds for locations throughout East Timor. Agencies are exploring procurement of other varieties to make up the deficit.
Education: A five day teacher's training course, sponsored by UNICEF, began on 14 December in Dili. Twenty teachers will receive instruction before training an additional 60 teachers. A total of 200 teachers are expected to receive training by mid-January. OXFAM, CRS and the CNRT are providing technical support for the programme.
West Timor: At a 12 December meeting with President of the CNRT Xanana Gusmao, Mr. Joao Tavares, leader of the pro-integration party, announced that militia units will shortly demobilise. Preliminary reports indicate that some militia near Haliwen camp may be disbanding.