Dili, 16 of April 2021 – the Minister of Finance, Rui Gomes and the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Resident Coordinator, Sunil Mitra, have signed a $1 million grant agreement to support a program called “Supporting Flood Responses and Recovery Project” in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Seroja, which have caused flooding and landslides in Dili, capital of Timor-Leste and beyond.
The grant, financed by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund through the ADB, will support the Government of Timor-Leste’s efforts to restore life-saving services, such as conducting damage assessment, coordinating crisis response, recovering the disaster, providing conditional transfers to the residents, and rehabilitating basic community infrastructures.
In his Remarks, Minister Rui Gomes said “The program will fund debris removal, much-needed drainage and road clearance, including drainage of stagnant water to prevent dengue, and other urgently needed repairs. The program will carry out a rapid damage assessment of affected houses and community infrastructure to better understand the consequences of the catastrophic flooding. This program will also deliver emergency, locally purchased, food supplies to individuals and families who are unable to work, including many of our farmers whose crops and rice-paddy-fields were devastated by the tropical cyclone Seroja.”
Minister Rui Gomes also thanked the ADB, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Japanese Government and the Korean Government for their generous support and solidarity in times of crisis and look forward to more supports and collaboration in rebuilding and recovering the livelihood of the Timorese people. Approximately 5,000 individuals will be benefiting from the Project. This will help them to support their families and their local communities. With this small action taken in times of crisis may become a means of recovery – facilitating the healing of the wounds of the most affected people.
The grant will be implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of State Administration, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, and the Secretary of State for Training and Employment. It will target identified 50 sub-villages and indirectly benefiting an estimated 65 thousand of its inhabitants.
During the event, Minister Rui Gomes also launched Timor-Leste’s Emergency Fund with the Account name: Fundu Emergencia Timor-Leste, Account number: TL3890 0000 0100 0037 12161, Banco Central de Timor-Leste. This fund will allow the Development Partners, including the generous individuals with the ability to easily support the Government with urgently needed financial resources. By contributing to the fund, development partners would significantly reduce transaction and administrative costs and significantly increase the Government’s ability to quickly respond to the crisis. The Minister also encouraged Development Partners to place much-needed resources in this fund to help people overcome the disastrous effects of the recent flooding.
From 29 March to 4 April, torrential rains and winds caused historic flash flooding that damaged homes, agriculture land, and critical infrastructure, including electrical lines and communications networks across eight municipalities in Timor-Leste. As of April 15, 2021, the Ministry of State Administration reports that there are 10,487 displaced people just in Dili and 25,709 across the country, with 45 confirmed casualties. Many lost their home and belongings, bringing a total of 4,546 families whose houses were destroyed, among them, 3,354 in Dili alone (74%). Dili was particularly hard hit by the floods, causing 43% of the damage, whereas across the municipalities 47%.