A need to re-establish the basics
30 September 1999
East Timor - "Conditions in Dili seem to be improving day by day and the peacekeeping forces are gaining control. Over the last two days, there has been a big increase in people coming back to Dili. They have been trickling in by foot. A week ago, nobody was in the streets here. Now people are in the streets or making repairs to their houses. "As soon as possible, security needs to established so people can return. The pressing concerns here are shelter, food and medical attention. The international community was forced to leave and the people here have been without care for the past three weeks. "The rainy season is coming now. It is already very wet and about 90% of the homes in Dili have been destroyed to the point where they are uninhabitable. But there is a problem of not knowing what people will want to do when they come back. Will they want to try and return to their old homes and make repairs or will they want to stay in the centres that have been set up? We are second guessing what people will need here. ”Water quality is also a problem. There are still some water pumps working in the city centre but basically the infrastructure has been destroyed. "Right now the people here are not in too bad a condition. There are some old wounds showing up where people were injured as they fled. Because they did not receive any care, the wounds have turned a bit septic. "We are trying to get basic health care up and running and primarily tending to things that have been neglected over the past three weeks. There is a problem of overcrowding and shelter and we are looking for signs of epidemics and malnutrition".