Timor-Leste

UNTAET Humanitarian Pillar - Situation Report: East Timor Crisis 6-7 Jan 2000

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General: Unemployment continues to hamper reconstruction, particularly in towns, where 80 percent of the population is estimated to be without visible means of support. As part of the effort to move from the emergency phase to rehabilitation, agencies are gearing-up to launch Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). The QIPs Working Group is currently drafting principles of operation in collaboration with the CNRT and other groups. Agencies have agreed that QIPs should be labour-intensive, reflect community priorities and include the active participation of women.
Phase One of QIPs, which is being funded by OCHA, is already under- way. On 6 January, a joint team from UNDP, the Humanitarian Pillar and the Governance and Public Administration Pillar travelled to Liquica for the first community meeting on QIPs. Under the chairmanship of the District Administrator, the team met with CNRT representatives from each sub-district to identify community priorities. Priorities include repair of clinics and schools, construction of a new market and various income-generating activities. A list of the top five-six projects is being finalised by the CNRT. As soon as the list is approved next week, funds will be despatched to the District Administrator to begin implementation.

Security: Following a New Year's eve clash between youth gangs in Baucau, a second, more serious confrontation occurred on the evening of 5 January. One youth was killed and five injured, two seriously. The injured are being treated in the MSF hospital. UNTAET's Civilian Police are investigating the incidents.

In the same region in the village of Venilale, approximately 30 kilometres south of Baucau, the Selisian School sponsored a party on 5 January to honour a local drama group. Youth from the village crashed the party, broke windows, harassed the celebrants and injured three of the school's religious staff. Youth from the neighbouring village of Bercoli intervened. INTERFET, which was called in to secure the school grounds, took custody of the leader of the gang that attacked the school. Local leaders including members of the church, CNRT and village officials are attempting to resolve the problem.

Today in Oekussi, one refugee woman travelling on a UNHCR convoy to Mahata was severely beaten. The woman is currently in the IMC hospital. UNTAET's Civilian Police are investigating the incident.

Returns: On 6 January, 176 persons crossed from Betun to Suai. At Batugade, 58 persons entered from Atambua in West Timor. An IOM- chartered aircraft returned 85 persons from Kupang to Dili. In secondary movements, 56 persons were moved from Batugade to Dili and four from Dili to Ermera.

Today, IOM reported that 105 persons entered at Batugade. Twenty-seven moved to Dili and the rest to locations near Liquica, Balibo and Maliana. IOM transported one person from Darwin to Dili. In secondary movements, 27 persons were moved from Dili to Manatuto. The total number of returnees is approximately 127,088.

Logistics and Food: Due to a labour dispute, WFP has been unable to move supplies on its logistics network for two days. Workers at the WFP warehouse have demanded an increase in wages and other types of support. The dispute is being resolved and workers are expected to resume operations tomorrow.

As part of on-going efforts to clarify food assistance policies, the District Administrator from Maliana was fully briefed in Dili today by the Humanitarian Pillar, WFP and World Vision on planned distributions and the new vulnerability and food for work programmes.

A schedule for despatching food to hard-hit villages, many of which are inaccessible by road, was also agreed. During the next several days, more than 200 MTs of food will be transported by WFP to the district. The food will be moved by both helicopter and road convoy.

Health: Epidemiological surveys confirm that Dengue fever is endemic to most parts of East Timor. Although a significant increase in the number of cases has been noted, this is consistent with the influx of expatriates, many of whom have no previous exposure to the virus and are therefore at high risk. OXFAM, which is taking the lead in developing vector control programmes, has conducted assessments in Dili, Liquica, Suai and Maliana, identifying strategies to decrease the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. OXFAM has already begun community education campaigns in these locations aimed at reducing or eliminating breeding sites. A comprehensive strategy for vector control has been drafted by OXFAM and forwarded to WHO, which chairs the Public Health Working Group.

Infrastructure: Emergency road repairs are due to begin shortly under a UNDP project, funded by the Norwegian Government. In a meeting today, the Infrastructure Working Group agreed that the first repairs will be to the network in Ermera district, where transport of the coffee crop is stalled due to impassable roads. Locations for the second phase will be determined in full consultation with all concerned parties including the CNRT, UNTAET and UNDP. Labour-intensive approaches, which will help reduce unemployment, will be used.

Oekussi: Although emergency distributions are continuing, rehabilitation in the enclave is proceeding. Using materials provided by humanitarian agencies, INTERFET is roofing schools. CARE is providing shelter materials to help families rebuild their dwellings.

An education survey is currently being conducted which will establish the number of teachers and students and the condition of schools. Tomorrow, INTERFET is launching a "clean-up" campaign in Oekussi town involving INTERFET forces, the local community, UN Agencies and NGOs.