East Timor: UNAMET Daily Briefing Summary: 20 Sep 1999

News and Press Release
Originally published
Good afternoon. I'm glad to see fewer cameras here. I hope that means there are more over there. As you know the United Nations sent a flight into Dili today. It left at approximately 2:00 this afternoon I think. It should be there by now. It's carrying 11 United Nations staff members. Some are humanitarian assistance experts. Some were logistics.
They will stay at the temporary headquarters which is the Australian consulate. They will join the other 12 who are already there. Mr. Martin left also today with General Cosgrove and we also carried about 15 journalists on that flight and as soon as we have another flight we'll put more journalists on board. I know all of you want to go there. I know that some of you are extremely unhappy that you didn't go today. There is a list in our office. Make sure your names are on that list with your passport numbers and your age and so on your birthdate and your media organization and we'll put you on the list as soon as we can but we can only put on 15 people at a time so you're going to have to be patient I'm afraid.

There were no humanitarian flights either yesterday or today; there were no airdrops because of the situation in the air. There were no air assets available. However, the World Food Program which has already dropped 50 tons since it started the drops, I believe, on Friday has two planes now on the ground in Darwin. One is the specially equipped C-130 that came in from South Africa and the other is an Antinov. They will, I believe, be starting air drops tomorrow continuing to drop humanitarian daily rations into the area that so far have not been supplied by humanitarian organizations.

Mr. Ross Mountain who is the coordinator of humanitarian assistance appointed by the Secretary-General is one of the people who went over to Dili today. He will be staying there along with other colleagues of his to continue coordination of the humanitarian relief efforts. Now that the Multi-National Force has gone in we would expect to see fairly shortly the arrival of planes carrying supplies. There are currently in Darwin a growing number of supplies - two cargo 747s have brought in relief supplies to Darwin. These are stored in warehouses.

I know that there is a Portuguese hospital ready to be set up in Baucau so there is now a massive amount of relief ready to go the question is getting it in as soon as possible and with the presence of the Multi-National Force we will expect to see it go directly to the airfields and transported out.

It seems to be fairly quiet in Dili. I haven't had any reports to the contrary. I haven't had any direct contact with our people on the ground since the arrival of Mr. Martin. I expect that he will be meeting with them in the immediate future. Our aim is to return to our compound as soon as possible. That compound as you know was left in extreme haste. It was subsequently damaged and vandalized to some extent. It is apparently very, very dirty. It needs to be cleaned out and indeed sanitized as there is a health risk. That will be a priority task for us so that we can continue to bring back our staff. Currently we have 24 staff on the ground; we will bring back to Dili more staff this week and as soon as possible move back into that compound to continue our work.

That's all I have for the moment.