Recovery and resilience in Timor-Leste

26 Apr 21

Recovery and resilience in Timor-Leste

Fernando Pires, Caritas Australia’s Country Representative for Timor-Leste, speaks about how your support bolsters disaster readiness in communities affected by flooding.

Timor-Leste is reeling from the worst floods in 40 years, devastating communities throughout the country.  

An estimated 2,000 households and over 9,000 people across Timor-Leste have been affected by intense floods caused by Tropical Cyclone Seroja in early April. The torrential rain and landslides destroyed critical infrastructure across the country and claimed the lives of 45 people.  

Through the support of people like you, our partners on the ground were able to respond quickly to help affected communities in the hours after the disaster.  

Our local partners travelled to flood-affected areas across Timor-Leste to assess the most urgent needs of households and displaced people. They have also procured blankets for pregnant women, people with disability, elderly people and children in affected communities. 

We are currently working with other NGOs in the Australian Humanitarian Partnership consortium to develop a coordinated response to Timor-Leste’s recovery. The priority needs identified so far include food, clean water and hygiene kits.  

The floods came at a time when Timor-Leste was experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the Dili municipality under lockdown.  

With many displaced people sheltered together in crowded evacuation centres, there are grave concerns that this will lead to a sharp spike in local transmission. There are also fears that outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases will put a further strain on Timor-Leste’s already over-stretched health system. 

Your support can strengthen community resilience  

Timor-Leste is one of the least developed countries in our region, with 42% of the population living below the national poverty line (World Bank)Many communities live in areas that are prone to floods, landslides and cyclones.  

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities can strengthen communities’ resilience to extreme weather events. Planting drought and salt-resistant crops, improving infrastructure, providing seed banks and training communities to formulate disaster can help reduce the severity of the impacts of natural disasters.

Your support helps communities in Timor-Leste to set up Village Disaster Management Committees that develop and implement plans to mitigate the effects of natural disastersThese committees empower community members to use their knowledge of the local context to identify risks and drive change in their community. 

It gives us a sense of hope to know that our work supports the most vulnerable communities to work together and make their community safer for themselves, to know that communities have their plans on how to be prepared for disasters, to mitigate risk and what they can do to respond to disaster in their village, saiFernando Pires, Caritas Australia representative for Timor-Leste. 

Your urgent support is needed now  

Our network of churches and local NGOs can respond quickly when an emergency occurs. But this work can only continue with the help of generous supporters like you.  

Communities in Timor-Leste need your urgent support as they continue to respond to these devastating floods. Please donate to the Timor-Leste and Indonesian Floods Appeal today.

Donate now.

Along with your generous support, this program is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP).