UNICEF Timor-Leste Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5 (Flood): 21 May 2021



  • This UNICEF Situation Report complements the UN Timor-Leste Floods Situation Reports with details on the situation and needs of children and their mothers, and on actions taken by UNICEF as part of the UN’s humanitarian response.

  • Flooding and landslides have caused 44 fatalities and affected 33,835 households across Timor-Leste. Of those, 82% - or 27,622 households - are in Dili municipality. The Secretariat of State for Civil Protection estimates that there are still 1,743 temporarily displaced persons in 13 evacuation facilities across Dili.

  • UNICEF handed over 200,000 water purification tablets to the Ministry of Health, for use in both evacuation centres and affected communities. UNICEF continued to support children, adolescents and mothers in evacuation centres, with activities focused on psychosocial support (over 1,000 children reached), learning (460 children reached), and life skills-based education (over 200 adolescents reached), as well as WASH, health and nutrition assistance. As families continued to return home, UNICEF is also increasing its focus on affected communities, including community-based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF needs US$ 2,060,000 to sustain the provision of life-saving and immediate essential services for women and children in Timor-Leste. UNICEF has been able to respond rapidly thanks to US$ 100,000 in pre-positioned supplies funded by Denmark and the United Kingdom, and by repurposing regular resources to meet the immediate response needs. The Government of New Zealand provided US$ 400,000 for the flood response and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, along with supplies and equipment for immediate response to the needs of women and children, especially related to water and sanitation. US$ 300,000 were received from the UNICEF Humanitarian Thematic Fund at global and regional level – a pooled, flexible multi-year fund supported by various donors that enables UNICEF to respond quickly to emergencies. However, more resources are urgently needed to respond to humanitarian needs in the different sectors and throughout the country.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Heavy rains across the country from 29 March to 4 April resulted in flash floods and landslides affecting all 13 municipalities to varying degrees, with the capital Dili and the surrounding low-lying areas the worst affected.

The latest official figures indicate that 13 evacuation facilities are still operating in Dili municipality, where 1,743 people – or 394 households – are temporarily sheltered. This is 1,269 people less compared to the last reporting period, as people are continuing to return home. There is thus a need for both sustained essential services in the evacuation sites, and for assistance to affected communities, including critical food and non-food items, and ensuring that essential services and support are available in these communities.

There is a critical need to ensure access to clean and safe water, including with water treatment measures at community and/or household levels, and to improve sanitation and hygiene, as well as to provide health services for the most vulnerable. The provision of nutrition services, including screening and referral for severe/critical cases of malnutrition, is also a priority. Moreover, the response must address the psychosocial and learning needs of affected children and adolescents, and provide learning materials to affected children and WASH rehabilitiation in schools affected by the floods.

The floods took place in the context of rising COVID-19 cases in Timor-Leste. On 28 April, the President renewed the State of Emergency for another 30 days, and the lockdown in Dili municipality that had been temporarily suspended after the floods was reinstated from 30 April. A sanitary fence is in place in 3 of the country’s 13 municipalities, including Dili, thus limiting the movement of people. As of 21 May, there were 2,398 active cases of COVID-19.