DILI, 06 April 2021 -- Heavy rains in Timor-Leste over the weekend left 32 people dead, over 10,000 people homeless and countless missing.
According to Timor-Leste deputy prime minister José Reis, this is the worst floods the country has experienced in 40 years.
The floods left the presidential palace water-logged, most roads in Dili inaccessible, and power supply cut off.
Speaking during the daily briefing, Director General, National Directorate of the Civil Protection, Mr Ismail Babo noted that out of the total 2,065 households that were affected by floods, over 70% of the victims (1,579 households) are from Dili.
“As of today, 2,065 households have been affected with the floods and are currently in 11 evacuation centres that we have established in Dili to help those in need of emergency supplies.
“We call for support from international organizations to address the emergency and meet the immediate needs of affected families,” said Mr Babo.
“The United Nations in Timor-Leste is deeply saddened by the loss of lives and infrastructure caused by the natural disaster. This flooding has also affected many of the UN staff and families. On behalf of the UN Country Team, I express sincere condolences to those affected. We are monitoring the situation very carefully. The UN Country Team and humanitarian partners are committed to supporting national response and emergency measures,” UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste, Roy Trivedy said.
United Nations in collaboration with the Government of Timor-Leste coordinated an emergency response and assessment of needs for the worst flooding the country has witnessed recently.
Following an emergency briefing, a secretariat currently hosted at The Ministry of Interior building in Caicoli, Dili was established to coordinate emergency support from development partners.
The secretariat is composed of representatives from Government of Timor-Leste, UN agencies, international humanitarian agencies, and local non-governmental organizations among others.
UNFPA joined other UN agencies to provide essential services and relief items to flood victims in Timor-Leste.
UNFPA donated hygiene and sanitary items like sanitary napkins in one set known as ‘Dignity Kits’. The kits also contain other items to meet the needs of women and girls of reproductive age. For example, soap, sanitary materials, toothbrushes and toothpaste to support most vulnerable in the evacuation centers. The items help support the safety of women and girls during displacement.
UNFPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health also facilitated transportation of midwives from health centres to evacuation centers to support delivery of essential services to pregnant women - providing mobile maternity clinics and basic materials to expectant mothers in identified facilities.
With Timor-Leste authorities reporting expected rains in coming weeks, the Government is concerned about damages caused to COVID-19 prevention and response infrastructure – including the National Lab and in quarantine facilities in Vera Cruz and Tasitolu areas in the capital city – Dili.