UNDP emergency support improves power and water supplies for East Timorese

Emergency rehabilitation work by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in East Timor's electricity, water and sanitation sectors, has been boosted by a US$ 2.5 million contribution from the Government of Portugal.
Portuguese support announced last week, will help re-establish the institutions needed for efficient power production and distribution. The government of Finland will also contribute $2 million to the effort.

UNDP is coordinating technical activities in the power sector, in cooperation with the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET). Timorese staff will be trained to operate and maintain the rehabilitated power stations without further assistance.

UNDP, the Portuguese Government and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will help establish and manage a proposed water authority for East Timor. Water supply systems in the districts of Baucau and Aileu will be rehabilitated, and a master plan for waste management and drainage will be prepared for the entire territory. While studies on drainage, waste and sanitation continue, the sanitation system in the captial, Dili will undergo emergency repairs.

"These activities have a major impact on public health and the general living conditions of the population", said Victor Angelo, UNDP Special Envoy for East Timor. "Certain basic conditions have to be improved before UNDP can concentrate on its main tasks, in the area of governance and institution building "We are also addressing the problem of waste management, which has never been dealt with before in East Timor."

Power and water distribution facilities were severely damaged during looting and burning by pro-Indonesian militia groups, following a UN-organized popular consultation on independence for East Timor last August.