News

Timor-Leste floods leave death, destruction and displacement in their wake

9 April 2021
Author: UNFPA
Floods in Timor-Leste have led residents to seek refuge in evacuation centres, like this parish hall in the Balide neighbourhood of the Dili capital, where UNPFA has distributed hygiene supplies among other relief efforts. © UNFPA Timor-Leste

DILI, Timor-Leste – Forty-two deaths. Dozens missing. More than 10,000 newly homeless. Impassable roads. Power blackouts. Rescue attempts requiring excavators and cranes. This is the devastating aftermath  for Timor-Leste, an island nation already battling COVID-19, after being hit with torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja. The downpour caused landslides and the worst flooding in four decades.  

The Government, with support by United Nations agencies including UNFPA and development partners, is leading the humanitarian response.

“I have never seen such destructive floods in my life,” said Anna Dos Santos, 39, a mother of seven who lived in the mountainous area of Lemonara in the capital city. When the main bridge was damaged, she had to wait three days before receiving any help. 

Her husband has been trying to salvage any of their belongings among the ruins of their house. Ms. Dos Santos is currently staying at the Catholic Church parish hall in the Balide neighbourhood, one of 19 evacuation centres established by the government. “It is hard to say when I will leave since I don’t have a house.”

Amandina Santina Lopes Guteres, a 32-year-old mother of two, is also at the centre, which is hosting about 150 people. “The kitchen area of my house is totally destroyed, and most of the house will need major repairs before I can move in. It’s not safe. I have no option but to hope that there will be no more rains.”  

UNFPA is distributing dignity kits, which contain essential items including sanitary napkins, soap and underwear, to meet basic hygiene needs. UNFPA is also attending to the welfare of pregnant women and new mothers, including facilitating the transport of midwives from health centres to evacuation centres. 

“We are particularly concerned about the health of vulnerable groups like pregnant mothers,” said Dr. Domingas Bernardo, UNFPA Assistant Country Representative. “We are currently availing mobile maternity clinics to help save lives of mothers and babies.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related content

Resources

UNFPA is currently resuming humanitarian operations, including the replenishment of medical stock and redeployment of staff across the region. UNFPA’s Preparedness and Response Plan for the Tigray crisis focuses on preventing and responding to gender-based...

Publications

UNHCR and UNFPA operational guidance on addressing the health and protection needs of people who sell or exchange sex in humanitarian settings. The guidance summarises overall principles and approaches, as well as initial, immediate responses, and further longer term,...

Resources
The situation in Gaza and the West Bank remains dire. As hostilities continue, civilian casualties continue to mount, particularly as air strikes target more densely populated communities. Given the already compromised protection and healthcare infrastructures in Gaza, health...

Pages

We use cookies and other identifiers to help improve your online experience. By using our website you agree to this. To learn more, including how to change your settings, see our cookies policy.

X