USAID, IOM support communities affected by devastating floods and landslides in Timor-Leste

By International Organization for Migration

USAID, IOM support communities affected by devastating floods and landslides in Timor-Leste

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Timor-Leste, in collaboration with the Civil Protection Authority on 12th July handed over the shelter repair kits to communities in Balibar village, municipality of Dili that were affected by landslides and strong winds after heavy rains and flooding in April 2021.

Timor-Leste is highly prone to natural disasters and is expected to face increased risks caused by a changing climate including the onset of La Niña resulting in floods, landslides, and strong winds in April 2021 due to heavy seasonal monsoon rains with higher intensity and a prolonged wet season. Floods, in particular flash flooding, can severely impact Dili and neighbouring districts and have a more moderate impact in rural areas.

Twelve municipalities have been affected with more than 30,367 households across the country and caused 45 people deaths. Dili was the worst affected, with flash flooding damaging houses, buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. According to the government, 13,554 people from 2,315 households were evacuated to 40 evacuation centres around the city.

“We are encouraged by the resilience of the Timorese families affected by the recent flooding. Building on the partnership with Timor-Leste, we hope these shelter kits will help in tangible ways as families rebuild and settle back home after the floods and landslides”, said USAID Mission Director Zema Semunegus. 

The distribution of the shelter repair kits will contribute to the government efforts towards addressing the immediate needs of the affected population in Timor-Leste.

“IOM remains committed to supporting the government of Timor-Leste through the Civil Protection Authority in disaster response and recovery efforts,” said IOM Timor-Leste Chief of Mission Ihma Shareef.

Olinda Sarmento Soares from Balibar Village who is over 100 years old recounted her experience. “I was awoken by the cyclone early in the morning when it was still dark. I was living alone in the house and terrified that my house would collapse or be blown away. Fearing for my life, I went as quickly as I could to my sister’s house nearby and luckily survived”.