Written by Neon Metin
The devastating flash flood that hit Dili on the 13th of March 2020 affected over 30,000 people. Within days, a second shock hit, with a COVID-19 State of Emergency declared.
The Timor-Leste government, led by Civil Protection, coordinated a response for those affected by the flood and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) consortium in Timor-Leste, made up of CARE International, World Vision Timor-Leste, Plan International, Oxfam in Timor-Leste, Caritas and Ra’es Hadomi Timor-Oan, with the support of the Australia government came to support.
When the floods struck, local resident Paulina had to quickly evacuate with her 8 children, including two children with disabilities. Her house was damaged and their clothes and rice destroyed. She was really happy when DPO Ra’es Hadomi Timor-Oan and Oxfam were able to provide materials and support to build back her house as part of the response. Her house is now better able to withstand floods. Paulina said her children are no longer afraid when there are big rains.
Together Civil Protection and AHP agencies have helped 52,347 women, men, children and persons with disabilities to recover from the flood and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
110 households received construction material to fix their homes back after the flood, including three persons with disabilities houses built back better, 9 affected schools have improved water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) facilities.
1000 hand washing stations, 5659 COVID-19 posters and 3360 personal protection equipment distributed to households and communities affected by the floods to help prevent COVID-19.
This response was also the first time that a disabled persons organization played an active role in a government led response. Director Agustino Belo of the national Directorate for Disaster Risk Management said that they were proud of their work with RHTO in the response and were now prioritizing persons with disabilities. The AHP flood response was supported by the Australia Government.