UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar Situation Report 20 to 21Jan 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
General: Assessments by WFP and World Vision confirm that serious malnutrition exists among some children in Lasaun and Atsabe. The majority of affected children are returnees from Atambua where malnutrition levels are increasing. Local officials report that approximately 30 children have died in the Lasaun sub-district since November 1999. Twenty-eight of the children came from families who had recently returned from West Timor. Although the cause of these deaths is not known, officials indicate that all of the children were suffering from sickness. Health and nutrition professionals have concluded that malnutrition may have been a contributing factor in some of the cases. Under the leadership of WFP, urgent steps are being taken to establish supplementary feeding programmes in the area. Caritas will supply corn-soya blend until a WFP shipment arrives in early February.
The first training seminar for UNTAET Humanitarian Affairs Officers commenced today in Dili. Representatives from each of the seven sectoral working groups gave presentations aimed at explaining current policies and operational modalities. The seminar will continue tomorrow.

Oekussi: A taskforce of agencies and senior CNRT officials met on 20 January to develop a plan of action for improving humanitarian assistance to the Ambeno enclave. The taskforce focused on the lack of access to UNTAET helicopters, deteriorating security conditions, inadequate roads, absence of markets for key commodities including fuel and difficulties in establishing supply channels. An assessment team, lead by the Humanitarian Pillar, will travel to the enclave next week to review humanitarian needs and make recommendations regarding future interventions.

At the suggestion of WFP, the UNTAET logistics office will use WFP's ET Carrier barge to supply the enclave, freeing additional space on UNTAET helicopters for humanitarian personnel. The logistics office is also considering increasing the number of flights to the enclave by reducing the frequency of trips to the eastern sector where road access is adequate.

Security: Despite official disbandment of the militia, 300-400 members are undergoing training in Haliwen refugee camp near Atambua. Harassment by militia continues in the Ambeno enclave. Militia, reportedly accompanied by a TNI soldier, burnt one hut and aggressively pointed a weapon at INTERFET forces. In a major incident, a large riot occurred today in Turiscai. At least two persons were reportedly wounded. The reason for the riot appears to be related to food distributions but is being confirmed by an investigative team from the Civilian Police. In a growing trend, significant numbers of Falintil in the Aileu cantonment are spontaneously demobilising by seeking civilian employment.

Returns: On 20 January, 82 persons from Australia arrived in Dili by aircraft. On the same day, 197 persons were transported on IOM- chartered trucks from Atambua to Batugade. On a separate convoy, 213 persons crossed into Suai from Betun. In secondary movements, 29 people were transported to Same by helicopter and 28 by road to Laga. On 21 January, 101 persons crossed the border at Batugade on an IOM convoy. In a large secondary movement, ten IOM trucks transported 218 persons from Suai to their homes in Foholulic and Tilomar.

Due to on-going insecurity, UNHCR has temporarily halted organised border crossings into the Ambeno enclave. The UNTAET Administrator, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, travelled to the enclave today, accompanied by a senior UNHCR officer, to review the security situation. The security level in the area near Passabe remains high. All humanitarian personnel travelling in this area are required to use a military escort.

Logistics: During the past two days, WFP has despatched 34.8 MTs of rice to Baucau and 20 MTs of maize to Maubisse on road convoys. The WFP helicopter moved a total of 47.6 MTs of food supplies including rice, pulses and vegetable oil to Obulo, Fahinehan, Hatalia and Atsabe. CARE transported 35MTs of shelter materials across the border from West Timor into Covalima district.

Health: The National Tuberculosis campaign was launched today with a two-day seminar on TB management. Treatments are expected to begin in two weeks. The programme, which will expand to approximately 2,000 cases by year-end, is being implemented by Caritas with technical support from WHO.

Education: UNICEF will curtail its incentive programme for primary school teachers next week when UNTAET assumes responsibility for stipend payments. UNICEF's support to several hundred teachers is expected to continue until the civil service structure is agreed and formal recruitment underway. Timber supplies for school reconstruction arrived today in Dili harbour. UNICEF immediately despatched the materials to Manatuto where the Philippine INTERFET contingent is assisting with school repairs.