Australia is waiting to provide emergency assistance to East Timor after the worst floods in 40 years have hit the island nation, killing at least 34 people and evacuating thousands. The natural disaster occurs when East Timor is preparing to deploy the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving its first batch on April 5.
“We are ready to assist the government and the people of East Timor in response to further requests for assistance,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) official told AAP on April 5.
“Australia and NGO (non-governmental organizations) partners we fund support shelters.”
“We support access to the center’s clean water through existing development programs.”
Heavy rains from the tropical cyclone Seroha caused flash floods, landslides and strong winds in the southern part of the Indonesian archipelago, bringing the total death toll in the region to nearly 200.
Deputy Prime Minister José Reis of East Timor said the cyclone caused the worst floods in 40 years, and despite the rains stopped, strong floods continued to flow through villages in the Malaka district of Timor. Some residents have moved to the roof to escape the rising floods.
“We had to dismantle the zinc roof. We got out of the back door and pulled out with a rope,” 36-year-old Agustina Luluc told Reuters about her and her three. She said she was waiting for her daughter to evacuate by the muddy road.
so statement, East Timor President Francisco Guterres Le Oro described the flood as a “catastrophe” and said authorities were still assessing the effects of the flood.
“We had already experienced the disaster caused by COVID-19, but now it is exacerbated and causes great pain to our people, especially those who have not survived.”
The Australian Government’s PARTISIPA program is currently underway in East Timor and is working to provide clean drinking water to shelters, DFAT said in a Twitter post on April 6.
🇦🇺 is working with the Government of East Timor to support emergency flood response. Through the 🇦🇺 development program, PARTISIPA provides shelters with access to clean water. PARTISIPA works to support regional infrastructure, development and economic growth ⬇️ https://t.co/rso2KP8uTY
— DFAT 🇦🇺 (@dfat) April 6, 2021
DFAT also said the Australian Defense Cooperation Program provided emergency backup power to the COVID Crisis Center in East Timor.
according to statementThe first round of vaccination was planned for 20% of the population, and frontline workers were first scheduled to receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on April 7.
East Timor Government Minister Fideris Leyte Magallaes told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) The country is most likely to seek immediate assistance.
“The government will seek help from friendly countries, especially Australia, after assessing the damage, given its proximity, available resources and experience in disaster management,” he said.
“The Australian Embassy and its institutions are working very hard with the Government of East Timor and its people.”
Pacific Shadow Minister Pat Conroy added that there was a “clear need for emergency response” in East Timor to help the recovery.
“The (Australian) government needs to respond to requests for help from East Timor,” he told ABC. “We thank the people of East Timor for never being able to repay in full.”
Meteorological Bureau (BoM) Said In a Twitter post, Cyclone Seroja is expected to track southwest in the next few days to open the waters north of Western Australia. They warned people living in northwestern Australia that a storm could approach the western edge of the Pilbara or Gascoin coast for the weekend and advised them to keep their weather alerts up to date.
tropical #CycloneSeroja It was formed this morning near Kupang, Indonesia. It will drift southwest over the open ocean north of Western Australia and intensify. Although it may remain on the water, people in W Pilbara are advised to get the latest information at: https://t.co/31Vz5uvhx2 pic.twitter.com/q0mzn1dKbF
— Western Australia Meteorological Service (@BOM_WA) April 5, 2021
AAP contributed to this report.