Friday, April 23, 2021

Floods in Timor-Leste and Indonesia kill over one hundred

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Farhana Asnap / World Bank

The death toll from the rains in Timor-Leste and Indonesia has now exceeded one hundred. But the authorities point out that there are still many people missing.

In Timor-Leste, the number of deaths increased from 28 to 34, according to a still provisional balance sheet, with 13 in the capital, 12 in the Manatuto area, seven in Ainaro, one in Baucau (Baguia) and another in Aileu, a source from Civil Protection told Lusa.

The same source pointed out that there are several people reported as missing, so the final balance is not yet complete.

In the case of Dili, preliminary data indicates that there were six deaths in Comoro – one of the areas most affected by the significant rise of the river -, three in Beduku, three in Hera, on the eastern edge of the city, and one in Bebora.

Floods in various parts of the country caused thousands of displaced, with many houses destroyed and major damage to infrastructure, such as bridges and roads destroyed. There was also significant damage in several schools and other public buildings, with teams on the ground assessing the damage.

In Dili alone, there are already more than 3,500 people temporarily housed in 11 locations, where public aid is being channeled, but also the support of many companies and private citizens, with an extensive wave of solidarity that continues to expand.

Several are underway fundraising campaigns abroad to purchase products in Timor-Leste and distribute to the most affected families. There is a lack of food, water, other essential goods and material for people to start rebuilding their homes.

Many Portuguese residents in Dili, as elsewhere in the country, are involved in humanitarian support, participating voluntarily in preparing hot food and delivering food to various locations.

This Tuesday, the Ministry of Agriculture will make an additional distribution of food, in addition to the efforts already underway since Sunday by the United Nations Development Program, several embassies, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and also Ministry of State Administration.

The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, José Reis, and the Minister of Public Works, Salvador Soares, visited several locations in Dili, where infrastructures were significantly affected.

There are serious damage to roads, landslides and mud in various parts of the capital, the fall of river dykes and still a lot of water in various areas of the city, including public buildings.

The electricity service has been intermittent in several places and there are areas of the city that are more than 24 hours without light, despite a significant effort by Eletricidade de Timor-Leste (EDTL) to gradually recover the service.

Garbage piles up all over the city, although some cleaning has already been carried out, with lots of dirt and mud in several places, including the Ponte de Santa Ana, the road next to Ribeira Halilaran, Largo de Lecidere and the Taibessi area.

Several bridges are considered urgent intervention sites, including the one that connects to the area of ​​the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV) and the ones that cross the Maloa riverside, the Presidential Palace, and the entire riverside area of ​​the Comoro River, among others.

The Ribeira de Hudilaran, for example, is practically covered with dirt, with damage to the bridge of the minor seminary of N.ª Senhora de Fátima, which is in danger of falling.

In Indonesia, the Disaster Management Center increased from 86 to 130 the number of deaths due to rains on islands near Timor-Leste, such as Flores and Sumbawa. Rescuers try to find more than 70 missing people, sometimes using shovels to remove debris accumulated during the storm.

The torrential rains of the past few days have caused floods and landslides, sometimes dragging houses. More than ten thousand people took refuge in reception centers. Many houses, roads and bridges have been covered with mud, and trees uprooted, making it difficult for rescuers to reach the hardest hit areas.

“It is still likely that we will see extreme weather conditions in the coming days” because of the cyclone, said the spokeswoman for the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency, Raditya Jati. The storm is now heading for the western coast of australia.

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