General: The past week has seen
a number of frustrated unemployed persons and disgruntled workers express
their disappointment in four separate incidents during the past week.
While the disputes have been peaceful, there is a clear indication that
one of the pressing humanitarian concerns in the country is that of resolving
the unemployment issue. It is not possible to say at this point in time
that the difficulties two organisations have had with different groups
of people in two outlying districts and those of two other organisations
in Dili, one with employees and the other with unsuccessful employment
candidates are interrelated except in the sense that they revolve
around the issue of jobs. Some threats have been made to persons and organisations
and mediation efforts have concluded with promises of a brighter future.
To address the problem, a number of initiatives are under way. The Office for Transitional Initiatives of USAID is beginning the first phase of country-wide employment programme. The community empowerment project of the World Bank will also initiate its community empowerment project in the near future. Quick Impact Projects are being implemented in the districts. Nonetheless, the anticipated impact of these programmes has yet to be realised. Patience among the unemployed in some cases is wearing thin and frustration is giving way to discontent. A concerted effort of the implementing and funding agencies and facilitation and capacitation of the process are in urgent demand.
Health:The ICRC clinic in Atsabe, Ermera District will become fully operational on 28 February. The clinic will operate six days a week from 0800 to 1200 as well as emergency hours. East Timorese nurses will provide basic medical services. The ICRC will supply medicines. The salaries of the nurses will be paid by UNTAET.
AusAid has approved a project submitted by the Sub-District Committee on Health in Ainaro District for the renovation of a building to be used as a dispensary.
Resources, both human and financial, represent a continuing challenge for the health sector in much of the country. While some organisations have been able to commit themselves to immediate needs during the crisis and to establishing longer-term services for continuing humanitarian needs, others are looking for replacement organisations to take over from them. The channeling of funds to this sector is thus a continuing priority.
Education:74 primary schools with 622 teachers servicing 15,575 students and six secondary schools with 44 teachers and 1,154 students are now now operational in Ermera District.
Civil Military Co-operation: During the course of this week, the Philippine Battalion and the Korean Battalion, both stationed in Sector East, continued with ongoing road rehabilitation and farming equipment maintenance. In Sector Central, the Portuguese Battalion continued to upgrade the Dili-Hera road. The Kenyan contingent continued to provide medical assistance for patients at the Dili mosque.