Subject: West Timor Press Summary - Feb 1-15 2002

West Timor Press Summaries 1st - 15th February 2002

NTT X ? NTT Eks pres; PK ? Pos Kupang; ST ? Surya Timor; RT ? Radar Timor; SP ? Sasando Pos

1st February

PK: Deputy Governor, Drs. Johanis Pake Pani said on Thursday that only four district governments have reported on the food security in their areas, namely for the area of Alor, Sumba Barat, Sikka and East Flores. They have also indicated of the possible food shortage. He hoped for other districts to be in alert of any natural disaster that could cause food shortage in their areas. He expected the district governments to procure a special fund anticipating for emergency situation resulted by the natural disaster.

NTT X: Interviewed by NTT Ekspress on Wednesday, several refugees in Belu gave support to the establishment of new UNTAS (an Organisation for East Timorese in refuge) by its secretary general Filomeno de Jesus Hornay. Antonio Britto, one of refugees, hailed the plan to establish a new UNTAS adding that the former organisation does not struggle for the fate of refugees and it has failed to adapt with the national or international political changes in relation to East Timor refugees. Maria de Sousa conceded this saying that the new UNTAS should have members who care about East Timorese grass roots who have been living at camps. In addition, the new UNTAS should be able to continue dialogues with both Indonesian and East Timor Government for the good of the refugees.

Saturday, 9th February

PK: Deputy District Head of North Central Timor, Drs. Gabriel Manek, Msi stated last Thursday that 7,171 families in seven sub-districts are feared to face food shortage due to harvest failures caused by the prolonged dry season and flood disaster. At least, 3, 195 hectares of farmlands are threatened to face harvest failures, he added. District Government is implementing special market operation for the villagers in trying to handle the possible food shortage problem.

RT: 16 community leaders from Laklubar sub-district, in Manatuto, East Timor, came to Belu on Friday (8 Feb.) to begin its reconciliatory visit from 8-11 Feb in several camps in Belu, Atambua facilitated by UNHCR and Satlak PBP (Refugees management executing unit at district level) of Belu. These community leaders were welcomed by District Military Chief, Let. Col. Didi Sudiana and Muspikab of Belu at District Military hall in Atambua last Friday.

NTT X: At least 125 hectares of corn fields in sub-district of Haharu in East Sumba were destroyed by infestation of grasshopper. Sub-district administration is expecting assistance from District government of at least 95.5 litres of pesticide to exterminate the grasshoppers.

NTT X: During his meeting with the Governor of NTT last Thursday, Program Manager of Moris Hamutuk, a radio station in East Timor, Russel Anderson said that the Radio Station has always been giving special attention to East Timor refugees in West Timor. Collaborating with a number of radio stations in West Timor, it disseminates information on situation in East Timor to the refugees. Moris Hamutuk is sponsored by a Switzerland's foundation named Hirondele.

Sunday 10 February

PK: Head of Community Protection Agency office in SoE, South Central Timor district, MK Mutadji informed on Saturday that 2 persons died and 14 houses were destroyed by flood and landslides in five sub-districts since early January this year. He added that a joint team of District Administration are to visit the disaster-affected villages on Monday

Monday 11 February

PK: According to Head of Community Protection Agency office of Manggarai, Paulus Sam Not, seven sub-districts were hit by flood and landslides from January to February inflicting losses up to Rp. 2.5 billion. Pos Kupang noted that the total loss caused by recent disasters throughout areas in the province has reached Rp. 8.8 billion. Meanwhile, from West Adonara in East Flores district, five villages are feared to face food shortage after rats destroyed the villagers' farmlands and from Lembor, Manggarai, it was reported that 663. 5 hectares of rice fields had been destroyed by rats since January.

NTT X: At least 50 refugees residing in Noelbaki and Tuapukan camp in Kupang came to District Head office of Kupang on Saturday (9 Feb.) demanding clarification of the disbursement of empowerment fund for refugees. The refugees had reportedly submitted proposal for empowerment fund in the form of soft loan from District government, but they have yet to get any updates whether or not the proposal is approved. According to 2nd Assistant of District Secretary, Chris Dillak, District Government procured the empowerment fund of Rp. 2. 5 million for 25 refugee families in 2001 but with the cessation of refugees' assistance starting from early January this, government no longer procures such fund. At least 1, 564 proposals of fund by refugees have been sent to District Administration office, said Dillak.

Wednesday 13th February

PK: Provincial Government has procured 161 tonees of rice to anticipate natural disasters in the coming months. Out of this amount, 70 tones have been distributed to several districts where disasters hit recently. Deputy Governor, Drs. Johanes Pake Pani stated this on Monday after chairing a meeting on the preparedness of disaster management in the province.

PK: District Government of Alor has run out of rice stock for emergency situation. The last stock of rice stored at Social Department Office of Alor had been distributed to the flood affected victims recently. Should there be any disaster to occur, Social Department Office of Alor could do anything to help the victims, as stated by Head of Social Department office of Alor, Drs. Julius Mau last Saturday in Kalabahi.

NTT X: (Kupang) Spokesperson of Provincial Military Chief, Capt. Longginus Lelo stated yesterday that Government's plan to dismantle the camps will not be conducted with force. Military will surely take persuasive measures to encourage the refugees to leave the camps. The knock down of the camps with force will only be taken if all the persuasive ways fail and the refugees still refuse to leave the camps. He defied the opinion that by dismantling all the camps, Government and Military are ignoring the well being of the refugees. On the contrary, Government and Military want to end refugees' suffering encouraging them to leave the camps, asserted Lelo.

14th February 2002

PK: Australian Defence attaché; Col. Neil Thompson, met with Provincial Military Chief, Col. M. Moesanip on Wednesday (13 Feb.) at Military Base in Kupang. According to Col. Moesanip, the visiting attaché came to Kupang to obtain information about the ongoing repatriation process of East Timor refugees handled by Indonesian Military. To the visiting attaché, Col. Moesanip informed that the repatriation process is running well and refugees show great interest to return home if Xanana Gusmao elected to be the President of the new country later.

RT: Deputy Speaker of Provincial Parliament, Dr. Nico Wolly stated yesterday that the Parliament had suggested the Government to delay plan to dismantle refugee camps until 20 July 2002, two months after East Timor gains its independence on 20 May 2002. He asserted the delay to dismantle the camps is needed considering the psychological condition of refugees which will surely be affected by the proclamation of independence in East Timor.

RT: District Head of Kupang, Drs. Ibrahim Medah has reportedly approved proposals of 150 refugee groups for self-empowerment fund, out of some 1,500 proposals submitted. Head of Public Relations section of District Administration office, Thom. A. Sonbait stated that each group will be assisted with Rp. 1 million (US$100) and will be disbursed later in July this year.

Friday 15 February

NTT X: Antara reported on Thursday (14 Feb.) that 15 people mostly children have died of diarrhoea in Tuapukan refugee camp in Kupang. Two non-governmental organisation activists reported that diarrhoea is the most common disease suffered by the refugees at the camp. Rovina Soares, a health cadre at camp, added that refugees also suffered of malaria, skin irritations and upper respiratory infection but recently cases of diarrhoea are soaring due to the wet condition of the camp worsened by limited health service provided at camp. Most of the areas at Tuapukan camp were inundated following heavy rain lately, but the water has begun to recede. Januario da Silva, the camp coordinator, stated that refugees' condition is getting worse after the government halted the assistance early this year and humanitarian organisations stopped giving relief assistance. He stated that although there is a community health post (Puskersmas) near the camp but since it is not open 24 hours a day, when there is any cases of diarrhoea, refugees would go to Mantri Kesehatan (Health Aide) which will cost them more expensive. The condition at camp is predicted to worsen if the heavy rain continues to pour within these days in Kupang and outbreak of diarrhoea is feared to occur.

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