The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


USIS Washington 

24 September 1999


Fact Sheet: USAID on East Timor Relief, Sept. 23

(More than 200,000 displaced by violence) (3150)
The U.S. Agency for International Development released the following
fact sheet September 23 detailing the international aid efforts
focused on East Timor in the aftermath of violence and civil unrest.
Following is the text of the fact sheet:
(begin text)
U.S. Agency for International Development
Indonesia - Complex Emergency
Fact Sheet #4
September 23, 1999
Following an overwhelming UN-supported vote for independence from
Indonesia on August 30, pro-integrationist militias in East Timor
rampaged and plundered through several cities and towns. Hundreds of
civilians were killed and more than 350,000 East Timorese were
displaced from their homes, including 200,000 Internally Displaced
Persons (IDPs) who fled to the surrounding hills and jungles of East
Timor. There are an estimated 165,000 IDPs in camps in West Timor,
many of whom were forcibly moved by pro-integrationist militias. The
militias also plundered and burned homes and private assets on the
island, including UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) offices
and equipment, during their rampage. Most UN personnel were evacuated
on September 10 due to military activity. The most immediate material
needs of IDPs in East Timor -- many of whom are dispersed in scattered
settlements -- are supplemental food, blankets, cooking utensils, and
shelter. According to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
reports, there are substantial medical and health needs in Dare,
located near Dili, the provincial capital. Diarrhea, respiratory
infections, and malaria are the main health concerns. Insecurity and
logistical constraints have limited road access in East Timor.
Currently, water and sanitation are key concerns in camps in West
Timor. Insecurity is also a concern in camps, due to increased militia
presence. Tensions remain particularly high in and around the border
town of Atambua. The security situation in East Timor also remains
tenuous. Humanitarian access to East and West Timor has also been
restricted by strong anti-foreign and anti-UN sentiments in Indonesia.
Numbers Affected
As of September 22, the Government of Indonesia (GOI) has registered
about 205,000 IDPs in 31 camps and shelters throughout West Timor and
nearby islands. (UN and NGO estimates range between 150,000 and
200,000.) According to the GOI, the majority of IDPs are located in
Kupang, Belu, and Timor Tengah Utara. There are an estimated 200,000
IDPs in East Timor, and the food supply for an additional 300,000 East
Timorese has been significantly disrupted by militia activity,
including burning and looting of food warehouses. Up to 500,000
individuals could require bulk food assistance in East Timor.
USG Assistance
On May 7, 1999, the US Ambassador to Indonesia Stapleton Roy issued a
disaster declaration in response to the complex emergency affecting
several regions in Indonesia, including East Timor. Based on
recommendations of a USAID/OFDA assessment team in early September,
the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) donated a total of 300,000
humanitarian daily rations (HDRs) to meet immediate needs of East
Timorese. The rations were dispatched to Darwin, Australia, via
USAID/OFDA-funded commercial aircraft. The first batch of 100,000
units arrived in East Timor on September 18, and the second 100,000
units arrived on September 20. The third and final 100,000 units
arrived on September 21. On September 18, the UN World Food Program
(WFP) airdropped 12,000 HDRs in Ermera and Bobonaro districts, East
Timor. On September 22, an additional 20,000 HDRs were airdropped, as
well as WFP high protein biscuits, for 30,000 - 35,000 IDPs in Umari,
Luro, and Baguia. These locations are known to have large IDP
To date, USAID/OFDA has dispatched 500 rolls plastic sheeting, 20,000
blankets, and 5,200 collapsible 5-gallon water containers to meet
immediate needs in East Timor. These commodities arrived in Darwin on
September 22 and will be distributed by helicopter by the UN to IDPs
in both East and West Timor. The USAID/OFDA items were requested in
phase two of a three-phase donor response and will benefit about
25,000 people. (Phase one is the airdrop of HDRs and other emergency
food rations, phase two is the delivery of commodities via helicopter
once peacekeepers have secured airways, and phase three is the
delivery of commodities and services via road by relief organizations
to meet the longer term needs of refugees.) In support of phase three,
the USAID/OFDA assessment team and USAID/Jakarta Mission are
considering proposals from NGO partners to assist with the delivery of
food, shelter, medical assistance, water, sanitation, and seeds and
tools to IDPs. A USAID/OFDA grant to an Indonesian NGO is supporting
water/sanitation activities to assist IDPs along the West Timor
border, including ongoing water projects in four sites. Water is a key
problem in Timor, as this is the height of the dry season.
USAID/Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has authorized the provision of
4,000 metric tons (MT) of bagged corn and 5,900 MT of bagged rice,
valued at $4.4 million, to WFP for the refugees and IDPs affected by
the fighting in East Timor. These commodities are sufficient to
provide the basic grain (carbohydrate) component needed to feed
360,000 people for 60 days. USAID/FFP is also currently supporting
ongoing programs in Indonesia through a number of PVOs and through
WFP. Current food stocks of Title II partners in Indonesia are
estimated at more than 8,000 MT, including 1,200-1,500 MT in East and
West Timor. USAID/FFP staff in Jakarta are investigating the
possibility of re-directing private voluntary organizations (PVO) food
commodities to Timor from existing Indonesia programs. Title II
commodities in cooperating sponsor pipelines amount to more than
29,000 MT.
To date, the USAID/OFDA assessment team in Jakarta has not received
any reports of starvation or critical malnutrition in Timor. (On
September 23, the media reported 20 people have died from starvation
in the hills outside Dili. USAID/OFDA staff in Jakarta can not confirm
this report.) According to the assessment team, food stocks in West
Timor are sufficient to meet current needs, but access to food may
worsen without external assistance and/or if militia activity
persists. The planting season is expected to begin in six weeks,
highlighting the need for rapid resettlement of IDPs. However, many
IDPs in East Timor are reluctant to return to their homes until GOI
military leave the territory. WFP currently has about 16,000 MT of
food aid available and/or in the pipeline for East Timor, which can
feed 500,000 people for about 2.5 months. Total GOI stocks of rice in
the region are estimated at 29,000 MT, including 16,500 MT in Kupang,
the provincial capital. The USAID/OFDA team in Jakarta reports that 30
MT of GOI maize seeds are also intact in Dili and may be available to
humanitarian organizations during the recovery phase.
Nevertheless, food access and availability is a growing problem in
East Timor, particularly for IDPs in isolated locations. Continued
displacement may disrupt the farming cycle and reduce planting, which
could cause food shortages in the next 18 months, the USAID/OFDA team
reports. There are also concerns about micro-nutrient and protein
deficiencies resulting from an extended bulk grain (rice) diet,
especially in children. (Recent press reports suggest hungry residents
looted food from GOI warehouses on September 22. UN-authorized
International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) forces quickly
intervened and prevented excessive looting.) USAID is considering
rapid delivery of corn- or wheat- and soya-blended foods for
vulnerable populations. Food security activities, such as seeds and
tools and community gardening, are also under consideration to reduce
the impact of displacement on the cropping cycle.
Moreover, the USG is assisting INTERFET in intelligence gathering,
communications, logistics, and airlift capability. A small contingent
of US Marines is also providing logistical assistance in Darwin, the
base of relief operations in East Timor. An INTERFET contingent of
about 2,000 soldiers from the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United
States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, France, and Italy have
arrived in Dili so far. A total of about 7,500 troops, mostly from
Australia, are expected to arrive eventually to restore peace and
security and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts. INTERFET is
currently responsible for clearing transport into East Timor. The UN
Security Council voted unanimously to send a peacekeeping force to
East Timor on September 15.
A high-level USG delegation headed by State Department Assistant
Secretary Julia Taft, who heads the Bureau of Population, Refugees,
and Migration (PRM), is currently visiting Indonesia and is meeting
with USG officials, international organizations, and donors, as well
as representatives from the GOI and CNRT, the pro-independence forces.
On September 22, the delegation, accompanied by a member of the
USAID/OFDA assessment team, traveled to Dili as part of a four-day
multi-lateral humanitarian assessment mission. Donor representatives
from Australia, the EU, Japan, Korea, and Thailand are participating
in the mission, along with 18 representatives of international aid
groups. The mission seeks to push the GOI on the need for humanitarian
access and protection in Timor and to mobilize donor support. USAID
and PRM are also advocating the opening of a humanitarian logistics
corridor between East and West Timor to allow secure and free movement
of food and other humanitarian assistance commodities.
Relief Efforts
Food: To date, the UN has airdropped 50 tons of rice and blankets in
East Timor, as well as 32,000 HDRs provided by the Department of
Defense (DOD). On September 22, WFP, lead agency in the food/logistics
sector, resumed airdrops after a three-day delay using one WFP plane
and two military aircraft (one Australian and one French.) 20,000
DOD-donated HDRs were airdropped in three locations for 30-35,000
IDPs. (A WFP plane was unable to airdrop six tons of high protein
biscuits on September 22 using a new "snowdrop" technique due to
incorrect coordinates.) A third WFP plane also moved office equipment
to Dili on September 22. On September 17, WFP initiated airdrops in
three locations using two Australian high capacity C-130 aircraft. The
airdrops delivered 40 tons of rice in the districts of Ermera,
Malaputu, and Malapa (enough to feed 100,000 people for one day).
Airdrops of rice and blankets continued on September 18 but were
delayed until September 22 by the deployment of UN peacekeeping
forces. Three airdrops of HDRs are planned for September 23 using
three military planes. WFP, the lead agency for logistics and
communications in East Timor, is organizing airdrops from Darwin,
Australia, following approval from the GOI. WFP reportedly plans to
continue airdrops from Darwin for the next twenty days. WFP reports
the GOI has waived the requirement to inspect airdrops from Darwin at
the airport in Dili during relief flights.
WFP will soon establish a daily air shuttle to transport up to 19
people between Darwin and Dili, with priority for humanitarian relief
organizations. WFP also plans to launch a food shuttle between Darwin
and Dili. The cargo vessel, which is capable of ferrying 2,600 MT, is
expected to arrive in Darwin from Brunei on September 25. The
Australian INTERFET contingent has provided high-speed boats capable
of transporting up to three tons of cargo each, two barges, and one
aircraft to support WFP logistics. The Australian government has also
contributed over $2 million for logistical and transport for delivery
of humanitarian supplies.
In addition, WFP reportedly plans to ship, through the GOI, 6,300 MT
of rice to Dili for overland distribution by implementing partners.
About 3,500 MT of rice has also been released from existing GOI
stocks. These stocks will reportedly be distributed through the GOI
and other implementing partners. According to WFP, the GOI will
provide 30 trucks for humanitarian organizations and a local
association has identified 24 trucks in West Timor. The GOI is
reportedly erecting tents for 2,300 IDPs at Tunukiik and is building
shelter sites near Atamuba. Recently, the local government in West
Timor prepared a resettlement plan for 20,000 IDP families within the
province. Resettlement is planned in Sulamu and Kupang districts, as
well as five locations in Belu district.
On September 22, WFP launched an appeal for $8 million dollars in
logistical assistance for its operations in East Timor over a
six-month period. WFP's Emergency Division has approved a Special
Operations program to finance a joint logistics cell for the East
Timor crisis. The cell will receive, store, and transport humanitarian
aid. The WFP Special Operations will also coordinate the management of
seaports, air transport, and vehicle fleets. WFP has also approved an
emergency operation plan (EMOP) to provide emergency food rations to
150,000 IDPs within East Timor for a two-month period. ICRC recently
delivered a shipment of food for 100,000 people in Dili.
Humanitarian agencies are establishing logistics routes into and out
of East Timor for relief personnel and supplies and have trucked in 10
tons of food to Dare, where about 30,000 IDPs have gathered. ICRC has
delivered an additional 5 tons of non-food assistance to Dare. In
addition, ICRC/Geneva plans to distribute 32,000 USG-donated HDRs in
East Timor. These rations are the remainder of a previous donation for
use in Kosovo. ICRC is also preparing an expanded emergency
inter-agency relief appeal to respond to immediate needs. In addition
to ICRC, World Vision (WVI), Action contre la Faim (ACF), and CARE
currently have international staff working in Dili and are
establishing field offices to implement phase two relief operations.
Agencies also continue to pre-position relief personnel and
commodities for distribution in East Timor once security improves.
CARE is coordinating agricultural assistance activities in East Timor.
Health: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Medecins sans
Frontieres (MSF) are jointly coordinating health sector activities in
East Timor, while OXFAM coordinates water/sanitation activities. With
the arrival of the INTERFET, ICRC is deploying a field hospital from
Norway. ICRC recently delivered medical supplies to the hospital in
Dili. A full surgical team from ICRC is supporting the hospital and
Medecins du Monde (MDM) also expects to implement programs in the
hospital. MSF/Holland is digging 120 latrines in an IDP camp in
Kupang. Most IDPs in West Timor appear to have access to water, but
the health and water/sanitation situation remains difficult to assess,
MSF reports. There are mild to moderately malnourished IDPs but no
cases of severe malnutrition have been observed. Cases of measles have
been reported in three IDP camps in Kupang. MSF is now working in 13
IDP sites in Kupang, each hosting about 200 IDPs, and has deployed
three water engineers and one doctor to West Timor. An ICRC
water/sanitation specialist recently arrived in Atambua. ACF and
International Medical Corps (IMC) also have medical personnel in
Darwin and expect to implement emergency health and water/sanitation
activities in East Timor soon. According to IMC, drug supplies and
medical equipment remain dangerously low in East Timor. The UN World
Health Organization (WHO) has secured an office in Darwin and will
establish a database for control of drugs and other medical supplies
leaving for Dili. MSF will assist in establishing the database. Relief
agencies in the health sector are now suggesting that medical supplies
are a higher priority than food in East Timor and are pushing INTERFET
and the UN for immediate access.
UNICEF has approved a one-year $4.9 million plan for East and West
Timor. The plan includes immediate and longer-term strategies for
assistance. UNICEF is distributing baby food in West Timor and
recently purchased non-food items such as jerry cans, water tanks, and
family kits. (According to news reports, armed militias blocked a
UNICEF truck carrying 1.5 tons of baby food from West Timor from
entering Dare.) A shipment of 4,000 jerry cans, 1,000 water jugs, 20
water bladders, and 120 water tanks is expected to arrive soon. UNICEF
will distribute these items in West Timor. UNICEF has re-opened an
office in Atambua and has 11 international staff in Kupang.
Shelter/Protection: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) lead
agency for shelter/protection activities in East Timor, has received
GOI permission to establish an office in Dili as well as offices in
Kupang and Atambua. UNHCR will share the Kupang office with OCHA to
serve as the coordination site for UN operations in West Timor. In
support of planned relief operations, UNHCR recently transported 100
MT of relief items (including blankets and plastic sheeting) to Darwin
and expects another 100 tons of relief items to arrive in the next few
days, with assistance from WFP. UNHCR plans to assist 100,000 affected
East Timorese, as well as an additional 100,000 beneficiaries in West
Timor. UNHCR has pre-positioned relief supplies in Darwin and expects
to position a plane in Surabaya, Java Island, to ferry passengers
between Jakarta and West/East Timor and to manage UNHCR logistics. The
International Organization for Migration recently submitted an appeal
for $11.23 million in support of relief efforts in East Timor.
INTERFET and many aid agencies working in Indonesia remain concerned
about access, protection, and security throughout Indonesia. On
September 22, militia forces in Dili killed a Dutch journalist working
for the London Financial Times. Two western journalists were ambushed
by a militia gang while driving in central East Timor also on
September 22. The journalists were rescued by INTERFET forces after
spending the night in hiding. INTERFET troops are investigating both
incidents. Press reports suggest that several Australian institutions
and buildings in Jakarta were recently attacked by pro-integrationist
forces. A UN special session will convene September 23 in Geneva to
establish an international inquiry on atrocities in East Timor.
Several NGOs including Human Rights Watch support this session.
Coordination: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating humanitarian relief efforts from Darwin
and is assisting with WFP-organized airdrops. UNOCHA expects to issue
a consolidated inter-agency appeal in late October, following a needs
assessment mission. UNOCHA expects to establish a headquarters office
in Dili by September 24. According to the UN Assistance Mission to
East Timor (UNAMET), the main UN compound in Dili was looted but not
destroyed after the evacuation. At present, the UN has 17 staff
members in Dili, along with 16 NGO and ICRC workers.
Financial Support
To date, USAID/OFDA has provided approximately $1.4 million, primarily
for transport and logistical support, in response to the East Timor
crisis. USAID/OFDA provided an additional $620,000 for plastic
sheeting, water containers, and blankets as part of phase two of the
donor response. This assistance included transport and logistical
costs. In addition, USAID/FFP has provided to date $4.4 million for
the provision of 9,900 MT of food commodities to WFP for refugees and
IDPs affected by the fighting in East Timor.
USAID/OFDA Assistance                  $2,020,000
USAID/FFP                              $4,400,000
TOTAL USAID ASSISTANCE                 $6,420,000
Public Donation Information
In the interest of effective coordination of public response to
disasters, we encourage concerned citizens to provide monetary
donations to appropriate organizations. USAID encourages the public to
contact directly those PVOs currently working in the region to provide
monetary donations. Readers interested in providing specific technical
relief services or commodities should contact Volunteers in Technical
Assistance's (VITA) Disaster Information Center for information and
guidelines (703) 276-1914.
(end text)

Join the mailing list