25000 risk food shortages

WFP: Lives of 25,000 People at Risk, Immediate Food Assistance Needed

The latest Emergency Food Security Assessment for Dili from the World Food Programme (WFP) finds that the lives of 25,000 people and the livelihoods of an additional 5,800 households are at risk due to food insecurity, with both groups in need of immediate assistance. The report also says internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps are 10% more at risk than people living in their own homes.

The Assessment aims to quantify the food security situation in Dili 18 months after the unrest of 2006, determine how the different livelihood groups are coping with the situation, estimate the number of food insecure people, and identify appropriate response options and possibilities for recovery and longer-term food security assistance.

WFP recommends that IDP camp residents who are willing and able to return home be provided with building materials and three months of food rations; supplementary feeding for children under five as well as pregnant/nursing mothers; cash/food for work programmes for those who remain displaced and lack food; and a collective response to the situation by all agencies and Ministries, among other actions.

Solutions to Problems of IDPs Sought at Humanitarian Retreat

Senior officials from the Government, UN, NGOs and partners gathered at a one-day retreat in Dili on 9 October to discuss crucial humanitarian issues facing the country, including the return and reintegration of IDPs.

During the meeting, participants aimed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, agree on urgent actions needed to address immediate humanitarian needs and immediate steps to facilitate the return and reintegration of IDPs.

“IDPs face many of the same problems as refugees, including inadequate access to health services, food, water, shelter and sanitation conditions, as well as increased vulnerability to murder, rape and other forms of violence. These conditions cause particular hardship for children, the elderly and disabled persons,” noted UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Finn Reske-Nielsen.

Mr. Reske-Nielsen said that following the retreat, the UN would like to initiate discussions about the 2008 Consolidated Appeal for humanitarian assistance from international donors.

Youth Center Refurbished with UNMIT ‘Quick Impact’ Grant

On 13 October, President José Ramos-Horta will preside over the grand opening of Dili’s Seroja Youth Center, which was renovated during the past three months with support from UNMIT.

Using a $24,550 grant from UNMIT’s Quick Impact Project (QIP) programme, the Timorese NGO Ba Futuru (For the Future) and the US-based NGO Edge-ucate.org have refurbished the bathroom and shower areas, improved security through the installation of doors and window bars, and completed some of the Center’s sports facilities.

The effort is part of a larger initiative by the two NGOs to provide young people from high-risk neighbourhoods with the opportunity to continue with school work, develop basic computer and language skills, and participate in activities such as singing, badminton, volleyball, skateboarding and football. UNMIT Photo/Martine Perret There are approximately 100,000 IDPs in Timor-Leste. The impending rainy season is expected to exacerbate already tough living conditions.

US$50,000 in start-up funds were provided earlier by ConocoPhillips. Additional donor support came from the World Bank, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, individual donors, and the international stabilisation forces (ISF), who provided new tables and benches and teach basic English at the Center three times a week. Funds are still needed for a computer lab, shade coverings for outdoor sports areas, and ongoing operational costs.

MDG Fund Gives $5.9 million to Support Gender Equality, Women’s Rights

The UNDP-Spain MDG Achievement Fund has given a US$5.9 million grant to support the enhancement of gender equality and justice for Timorese women, and help restore women’s human rights which were denied and violated through years of war and conflict.

The UN agencies and partners participating in the joint three-year programme are UNDP , UNICEF , UNIFEM , UNFPA , and the International Organization for Migration.

As part of the initiative, a Gender Equality Framework was launched by DSRSG Finn Reske-Nielsen on 5 October. The first of the Framework’s two pillars aims to reduce violence against women. The second pillar seeks to reduce economic hardship and deprivation faced by women.

At the launch, Mr. Reske-Nielsen quoted former Secretary-General Kofi Annan who said, “Gender equality is more than a goal itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

The UNDP-Spain Fund was begun in December 2006 to accelerate efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to support UN reform efforts at the country level. MDG goal #3 is “Promote gender equality and empower women.”

CNN Interviews UNMIT Officials for Quest for Peace Programme

In connection with Quest for Peace, an hour-long CNN programme focusing on those “who strive for a free and democratic world,” senior UNMIT officials were interviewed by the programme’s presenter and CNN correspondent, Richard Quest.

As part of CNN’s visit from 8-11 October, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare gave an interview on UNMIT’s peacekeeping activities. The SRSG and the CNN team visited Viqueque in the eastern part of the country to assess the security situation on the ground. DSRSG Finn Reske-Nielsen was also interviewed at the Airport IDP Camp on the problems facing internally displaced people in Timor-Leste.

Mr. Quest also gave a presentation to local journalists and UN staff on 11 October on the subject of the media in a democracy.

According to CNN, Quest for Peace will prominently feature Timor-Leste, and include positive steps taken by the UN as well as the challenges of making and keeping the peace.

The programme, which will air in the later part of November, will include interviews with Timorese President Ramos-Horta, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and activist Graca Marchel, among others.

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the United Nations. UNMIT Weekly is published in English and Tetum by the Communications and Public Information Office/UNMIT. Tel: +(670) 330-4100. E-mail us at: pio@un.org.

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