External Review of the Humanitarian Response to the East Timor crisis: September 1999 - May 2000


Executive Summary

The objective of the review is primarily to assess the effectiveness and impact of the humanitarian response in East Timor since September 1999 to the present, while giving a general overview of the current situation, and providing some recommendations for the future on the key issues identified. The second main focus is to review the CAP and its uses in order to determine its validity and applicability. The methodology and terms of reference are included as annexes. Headings used are the goals mentioned in the CAP document.

Meet acute needs first

The stated goal to meet acute needs has been the single and overall guiding principle for humanitarian operations and served as a framework for the humanitarian response. Overall the objectives have been achieved across all sectors, despite some shortcomings, such as in the shelter sector or given questions raised about the effectiveness of some practices (food air drops). The general feeling among the international community (donors, UN agencies and INGOs) is that four causes can be identified as factors of success: a) strong leadership from the onset and setting of clear objectives, b) excellent on the ground coordination, c) commitment and dedication of all the humanitarian actors, d) quick support by the international community (including pre-CAP disbursements and response). No epidemics outbreak has been reported and this can most likely be partly attributable to the adequate response of the East Timorese themselves and of the international community.