UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for East Timor Crisis (Oct 1999 - Jun 2000)



OCTOBER 1999 - JUNE 2000

October 1999

1. Executive Summary


During the two weeks of violence that followed the 30 August popular consultation in East Timor, more than 75 percent of the entire population was displaced. In addition, 70 percent of all private residences, public buildings and essential utilities were destroyed. The crisis was further deepened when all Government functions, including public services and law and order, collapsed with the rapid and unexpected departure of the Indonesian authorities. The vacuum in East Timor was filled in the immediate term by the deployment on 20 September of the multi-national force, International Force for East Timor (INTERFET), and by humanitarian agencies, several of which, including OCHA, UNHCR and ICRC, were able to maintain a minimal presence throughout the crisis.

INTERFET, although hampered by only partial deployment of its full force, has worked systematically to establish a security presence--first in Dili, followed by the eastern sector and now in the western regions of the territory. Liaising closely with INTERFET, humanitarian agencies have worked around-the-clock during September and October to meet acute needs, stabilise populations and repair essential services. In early September, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed the Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator from OCHA as the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the East Timor Crisis, with broad responsibility for the overall humanitarian operation and displaced persons in East and West Timor and other parts of Indonesia.

First Steps in East Timor

The first step taken by the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. was to arrange airdrops of humanitarian daily rations through WFP for displaced populations seeking safe haven in the hills surrounding towns and villages in East Timor. These drops continued for several weeks, providing urgently needed food to tens of thousands of people. With the arrival in Dili on 20 September of the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. and representatives from UN Agencies, immediate efforts were made to create a rudimentary operations base capable of launching large-scale interventions. WFP was requested by the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. to establish a logistics network for all humanitarian agencies. OCHA took responsibility for establishing a United Nations Humanitarian Operations Centre (UNHOC) with support from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA). Within days, international NGOs began arriving in Dili, basing their operations out of UNHOC which provides both office and accommodation space. Earlier, while still in Darwin, UN Agencies and NGOs had established coordination committees for each programme sector. These committees, which were immediately reconstituted in Dili (under the leadership of appropriate agencies), are responsible for all planning and assistance in each sector. Working through these committees, UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, ICRC and NGOs took urgent life-saving actions.

During the first month of the operation, humanitarian interventions in Dili included: 1) creation of "safe-haven" camps for displaced persons near the port who were facing possible transfer out of East Timor; 2) a general rice distribution for more than 64,000 people recently returned to Dili; 3) a general distribution of emergency non-food assistance including blankets, household items and shelter material for more than 64,000 people; 4) the re-opening of all ten hospitals and health facilities; 5) food distributions to at-risk populations; 6) repairs to the piped and well-water system.

In addition, food and non-food assistance has been despatched to displaced populations throughout East Timor in conjunction with humanitarian and military reconnaissances and convoys. More than 60 convoys, carrying assistance to tens of thousands of people throughout the territory, have been launched to date. NGOs have also operated mobile health clinics in more than 20 locations in the eastern sector. Operations in the eastern sector were boosted in early October with the opening of a UN regional operations base in Baucau that receives supplies by both sea and air, and acts as a logistical hub for the entire region.

First Steps in West Timor

In West Timor, the United Nations is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to displaced persons by securing direct and unhindered access. Humanitarian agencies are working with authorities to ensure that assistance is provided to all displaced persons in need, irrespective of their political views or affiliations. During discussions with UN officials, notably the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., the Indonesian Government has stated that it firmly supports providing East Timorese with the option to voluntarily return. UN Agencies have been working cooperatively with the Government, under difficult circumstances, to implement this policy.

Under its protection mandate, UNHCR has arranged a voluntary return programme for displaced persons wishing to re-enter East Timor. To date, more than 2,000 East Timorese have returned from Kupang to Dili on UNHCR-chartered aircraft. Thousands more will return by air and sea in the coming weeks. Efforts continue to negotiate return by road. If successful, tens of thousands of East Timorese are expected to cross the border into East Timor. Contingency plans for dealing with the expected influx, including way-stations on main travel routes, have been developed by humanitarian agencies in Dili, under the leadership of UNHCR and in close collaboration with INTERFET.

Although access to displaced populations in West Timor continues to be a major problem, agencies are attempting to work through local partners to deliver minimum amounts of humanitarian assistance. Conditions are expected to deteriorate sharply in the camps with the onset of the rainy season in the next few weeks and to slow return efforts. Agencies will increase assistance to displaced populations once access improves, and plan to provide relief to both host communities and populations who choose to remain in West Timor.


At present, approximately 40 humanitarian agencies are active in East Timor and more than 15 in West Timor. The humanitarian operation rests on three pillars:

1) a unified coordination structure in all major operational hubs under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator and facilitated by OCHA ;

2) a logistical network provided to all agencies by WFP;

3) a security umbrella in East Timor based on INTERFET forces and guidance from UN Security Officers working under UNAMET.

The OCHA coordination framework is organised under the authority of the Humanitarian Coordinator and involves a two-tiered structure. Central OCHA coordination offices have been established in four major operational hubs: Dili, Darwin, Kupang and Jakarta. In addition, OCHA sub-offices are being established in Atambua and Kefamenanu in West Timor and in at least eight locations in East Timor. OCHA’s role is to take the lead in creating and sustaining a unified operation that is based on the full participation of international and local agencies. In particular, OCHA is responsible for ensuring that:

a) needs are identified; b) planning is cross-sectoral; c) information is shared; and d) programmes are coordinated. OCHA is also taking the lead in providing temporary space for offices and accommodation for humanitarian agencies and for coordinating a rudimentary telecommunications network. A key aim of OCHA is to establish a platform that allows UN Agencies and NGOs to work collectively to address humanitarian needs by agreeing on a clear division of labour and sharing assets and expertise.


Given the impossibility of conducting on-site assessments, humanitarian agencies in Darwin and Jakarta drafted (during the first week of operations) a preliminary assessment of priority needs based on assumptions gained from aerial surveys, and projections by experienced local interlocutors. During the past month, more than 30 assessments have been conducted throughout East Timor. On the basis of these, the working assumptions used by the agencies have been modified. This Appeal is based on the findings of the assessments. With access now rapidly increasing in East Timor, additional technical assessments are planned; information from these will be used to sharpen targeting, improve planning and further define programming.

This Appeal covers emergency and transitional programmes for the nine-month period from 15 October 1999 until end June 2000. The Appeal is divided into two sections: the first on East Timor and the second on West Timor. The East Timor section is divided into three programme and operational sub-sections. A sector strategy appears at the start of each sub-section. These strategies were drafted in the sectoral coordination committees in Dili and represent the collective view of all agencies working in the sector. Two of these sub-sections - "Return and Reintegration" and "Coordination and Logistics" - also cover activities in West Timor. They are included in the East Timor section since most of the implementation will occur in this area. All international NGOs currently operating in East Timor participated in the sectoral coordination committees. NGO programmes are either incorporated directly into the umbrella projects of UN Agencies or listed as separate projects. Agencies in West Timor are working to develop common priorities and approaches. In this Appeal, the first outlines of the strategy and a sketch of priority needs are presented.

This Appeal, drafted during the second week of October, contains 48 projects for US$ 183,065,299 for East Timor and 16 projects for US$ 15,980,800 for West Timor. Significant financial resources have already been pledged against the preliminary assessment, which was presented to donors in mid-September. To the degree possible, these pledges have been taken into account by agencies in calculating their budgets. In some sectors, further technical assessments are expected to show additional needs. Agencies have agreed that, if necessary, these will be presented bilaterally to donors at a later date.

In this Appeal, UNICEF, as lead agency in several sectors, presents the needs of all collaborating partners. A breakdown by partner is included in the relevant budgets, and donors are advised to channel funds directly to the partners concerned.

UNHCR requirements for both East Timor and East Timorese elsewhere are presented in a single document.

East Timor Section

Agencies working in East Timor have worked closely together to develop a coherent, fully integrated programme strategy that covers the emergency and initial reconstruction needs of more than 650,000 displaced persons and returnees. Although projects are presented by sector, reference is made throughout the document to cross-linkages between programmes. Every effort has been made to link interventions in one sector with interventions in complementary sectors. Committed to ensuring that the emergency phase is over as quickly as possible, agencies are also working together to ensure that the transition to rehabilitation and development is rapid and smooth. Humanitarian agencies will be discussing linkages to longer-term development programmes with UN development agencies and Bretton Woods institutions which will be conducting technical assessments in East Timor in the near future.

The main aim of humanitarian agencies in the next nine months in East Timor is to assist populations through the emergency stage as quickly as possible while laying the groundwork for full scale reconstruction and development. During the emergency and transitional phases, humanitarian agencies have agreed to pursue the following six goals: 1) meet acute needs first; 2) stabilise at-risk populations before their condition becomes acute; 3) reintegrate displaced persons; 4) enhance livelihood strategies; 5) repair essential infrastructure; 6) help re-establish key institutions essential for economic recovery and good governance.

In addition to these goals, agencies in East Timor are committed to creating a coordinated operation that is based on humanitarian principles and which has a clear exit strategy. The aspiration, shared by all members of the humanitarian community, is to make the East Timor operation a model that can be replicated in other contexts. Drawing on lessons learned from other recent operations, UN Agencies and NGOs are tackling three particular sets of problems: 1) defining exit strategies early in the operation; 2) integrating humanitarian principles at the start of the operation; 3) establishing inclusive coordination structures in locations throughout East Timor. In addition, agencies will make a concerted effort to enhance local capacities as a way of preparing Timorese actors and institutions to assume responsibility for humanitarian programmes in the near future.

The role of humanitarian agencies in East Timor is to provide basic services to people while a new civil administration is established under the auspices of the United Nations Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET). Humanitarian agencies aim to fill the vacuum left by the Indonesian authorities in the short term, help populations re-establish themselves, undertake emergency repairs of public utilities, and reopen key institutions devoted to public welfare, including health facilities and schools. Humanitarian activities are expected to come under the umbrella of UNTAET once appropriate coordination structures are created, in the next few months. In the interim, humanitarian agencies will continue to operate under the OCHA coordination framework.

West Timor Section

The main goals of humanitarian agencies working in West Timor during the next nine months is to work with the Government of Indonesia to: 1) meet acute needs of displaced populations; 2) ensure protection and assistance for displaced persons with a special focus on the needs of vulnerable persons; 3) create an environment where displaced East Timorese are able to make a free and informed decision regarding their future, whether it be voluntary return or local settlement and, once they have made their decision, to provide appropriate support for re-integration into their communities; 4) enhance the coping strategies of communities in West Timor hosting East Timorese; and, 5) support reconciliation.

Humanitarian agencies have agreed that in addition to these main goals, efforts will be made to meet the following objectives: 1) strengthen coordination between the Government of Indonesia, UN Agencies and NGOs through regular meetings that set common priorities and draft implementation strategies; 2) secure full access to areas with displaced persons for humanitarian agencies to conduct needs assessments and provide assistance; 3) strengthen capacities of local government and national NGOs through training; 4) provide humanitarian assistance to displaced persons in and outside camps to supplement services already provided by the Government of Indonesia; and, 5) provide humanitarian assistance to communities and families hosting displaced persons.

Table 1: Total Funding Requirements for the
1999 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for EAST TIMOR CRISIS
By Sector and Appealing Organisation
October 1999 - June 2000
Return and Reintegration (including shelter)
Food Aid and Food Security
Water and Sanitation
Infrastructure and Economic Recovery
Education and Community Action
Humanitarian Principles
Coordination and Logistics
World Food Programme
World Health Organization
United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme / International Labour Organization
United Nations Development Programme / International Organization For Migration / United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Development Programme / World Health Organization
United Nations Population Fund
International Organization For Migration
Food and Agriculture Organization
Office For The Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs
Non-Governmental Organisations



2.3.1 Return and Reintegration Sector
2.3.2 Food Aid and Food Security
2.3.3 Health
2.3.4 Water and Sanitation
2.3.5 Infrastructure and Economic Recovery
2.3.6 Education and Community Action Sector
2.3.7 Humanitarian Principles
2.3.8 Coordination and Logistics



3.3.1 Food Aid and Food Security Project
3.3.2 Health Projects
3.3.3 Water and Sanitation Projects
3.3.4 Education and Community Action Projects
3.3.5 Infrastructure and Economic Recovery Project
3.3.6 Return and Reintegration Project


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