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Timor-Leste Floods - Flash Update No. 2 (As of 7 April 2021)

Countries
Timor-Leste
Sources
UN RC/HC Timor-Leste
Publication date

This report is produced by RCO Timor-Leste in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It is issued by UN Timor-Leste. It covers the period from 6 to 7 April 2021. The next report will be issued on or around 9 April 2021.

HIGHLIGHTS

• From 29 March to 4 April, heavy rains across the country have caused flash floods and landslides. A total of 8 municipalities were affected, with the capital Dili and the surrounding low-lying areas the worst affected.

• According to the latest official figures (7 April) from the Secretariat of State for Civil Protection, a total of 2,375 households – or 9,779 people – are in the 18 official evacuation facilities in Dili. There are many more displaced – including many women and children - in informal evacuation sites across the city.

• To date, a total of 42 fatalities (including 13 who are still missing and presumed dead) have been recorded.

• In support of Government efforts, the UN and humanitarian partners have continued to address the lifesaving multi-sectoral needs of the affected people, in particular the women and children in evacuation facilities in Dili.

• The Rapid Site Assessment conducted on 5/6 April by a joint UN team identified urgent needs in the evacuation centers as being: WASH facilities, food and drinking water, non-food items, and medicine

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Heavy rains across the country from 29 March to 4 April have resulted in flash floods and landslides affecting 8 municipalities, with the capital Dili and the surrounding low-lying areas the worst affected. To date, a total of 42 fatalities have been recorded in Dili (22), Ainaro (10), Aileu (2), Manatuto (5), and Viqueque (3).

According to the latest official figures, there are 9,779 displaced individuals – or 2,375 households - in 18 official evacuation centers in Dili municipality. Urgent needs in these evacuation centers are WASH facilities, food and drinking water, nonfood items, and medicine. Humanitarian partners have noted with concern that some of the private donations to the evacuation centers include products such as bottles and breastmilk substitutes, which do not follow the global Operational Guidance for Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies. Nutrition situation of temporary displaced under-5 children and pregnant and lactating mothers is emerging as an increasing concern. There is also concern about the potential spread of COVID-19 at these sites.

Humanitarian partners are reporting that there are many more vulnerable displaced people – including many women and children – outside of the official evacuation centers, such as in Tasi Tolu, who require urgent humanitarian assistance. Extensive damage has been reported to houses, buildings (including health facilities and COVID-19 quarantine and isolation centers) and public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and riverbanks, and the assessment of damages and losses are ongoing. According to an initial assessment done by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, 10 school buildings were destroyed in Dili, and two schools in Dili are being used as evacuation facilities. Essential services – including electricity, water, and ICT - were temporarily disrupted and are yet to be fully resumed in some areas.

The floods come at a time when the country has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases with Dili municipality in strict lockdown since 9 March. The temporary displacement of people poses a threat to spread of COVID-19 as well as outbreaks of waterborne and vector-borne diseases, which would put a further strain on Timor-Leste’s already over-stretched, fragile health system. The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in-country on 5 April, and the national vaccination programme was launched on 7 April. It is expected that the essential workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 response - many of whom are also at the frontline of the floods response – will receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination over the next couple of weeks.