The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.
Period covered by this update: 1 January 2008 -30 April 2008
CHF 145,212 (1) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 25 July 2007 to support the national society in delivering assistance to 947 beneficiaries. Up to 94 per cent of the available funds were utilized for the operation.
In July 2007, Timor-Leste experienced severe downpours leading to flooding and landslides. Overall, a total number of 947 beneficiaries (243 families, consisting of 463 men and 484 women) in six districts were badly affected.
Through the DREF support, the operation was planned for five months; July through November 2007. However, due to security problems, heavy rains and flooding, insurgency activities and logistics problems such as the purchase of appropriate timber, the operation was extended till March 2008.
This operation relates to a period of heavy rain in July 2007 that resulted in floods and landslides in many parts of the country. The impact was particularly severe in the districts of Suai, Same, Manatutu, Viqueque and Ermera. A total of 243 households were affected with at least one death recorded as well as severe loss of livelihood, shelter and crops such as rice, corn and green crops. In Suai, about 100 deep wells were contaminated by flood water while many houses in Jumalai were destroyed by landslides. Health problems such as diarrhoea, malaria and dengue were reported in Suai with similar problems reported in the districts of Manatutu, Ermera and Same as well.
Timor-Leste faced many challenges during 2007 and 2008. About 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) had been in the camps for more than a year and the security situation was very unpredictable for a long period. The country faced drought from February to March 2007 resulting in food scarcity in many parts. This was followed by a new bout of civil unrest which erupted in the three eastern districts that led to the displacement of about 10,000 people as well as the destruction or burning down of houses and various infrastructures. In the meantime, La Niña brought about heavy rains frequently from December 2007 till April 2008 that caused large scale flooding and landslides in many parts of the country, especially in the Liquica district. The south-western districts were badly affected by locust infestations.
In all these areas, the Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL) and the International Federation supported communities in rehabilitating their shelters and provided piped water to a community in Ermera district. CVTL/ Federation advocated the problem of Laco community (Manatutu district) to the government for necessary support. As a result, the government decided to support this community; therefore, CVTL/Federation reviewed the plan and provided its support to the community in Same district. The main challenges of the operation were the short supply of legal timber, security problems and state of siege for two months, long wet season and local community barred from accessing forest resources for construction materials. Over all, the progress was slow.