The events of the last couple of days have culminated in the scheduled departure of a significant segment of the expat community. It is not only non-essential OZ embassy staff and families of staff members, but all OZ volunteers (AVI) and large groups working on AusAid projects. Most departures are elective with only some of them compulsory. UK and NZ have followed suit. The UN and UN volunteers have made no move as yet.
Many government departments are not really operating well as local staff are not showing up for work and a number of expats are choosing to leave. The Ministry of Education is a bit of a mess and suffering from looting, trashing and a bit of burning. An education ministry warehouse next to the main offices is a smouldering wreck with all contents burnt and the roof caved in. The F-FDTL are now guarding what remains of that warehouse and hopefully preventing further damage, which seems to have been limited to the bottom floor of the office complex.
I believe the Ministry of Agriculture has been disfunctional for some time (due to regular stoning of the building) and with the departure of many other expat capacity building staff, an awful lot of things may well go on hold for some time.
I think the last 2 nights were actually pretty quiet but car tyre burning and road barricading is still a feature and clearly evident in the morning. Of course, residents of Bairo Pite and Delta may disagree – I don’t know.
Movement seems fine during the morning period, but the expectation of trouble after dark seems to be visible from lunchtime on. Thats the feel anyway.
By next week, the expat scene may well be a shadow of its former self, although I admit I know nothing about what the Portuguese community is doing regarding leaving. It all really depends on whether the threats of violence actually take the next step. And it is the threats that are driving a lot of this situation.
I do feel sorry for some of those compelled to leave as it involves packing a bag of no more than 10kgs. Just think – laptop, backup drive, music player, personal papers, 2 pairs of underwear and only one sock. So you leave all of your other stuff and wonder just how long before you get back.
Note : I had trouble posting this yesterday when I fisrt wrote it.