DEVASTATING floods and landslides have hit Timor-Leste (East Timor) in the past week, starting in the early morning of Easter Sunday.
Some 34 people have been reported to have died, mainly in the country’s capital Dili. The sizeable East Timor Community in Bridgwater has already raised over £5,000 from personal donations.
Their spokesman in Bridgwater, Januario Gusmao, says: “This figure could be higher. Many are missing. Over 7,000 people have been left homeless, without food, medical supplies, shelter, clothing and are extremely vulnerable. Religious organisations, Government buildings, schools are being used to house them.
“This disaster is unprecedented, the worst flooding in memory.”
Bridgwater Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said: “Our thoughts are with the wonderful people of East Timor at this moment, many of who we know here in our town and who have brought their culture with them and shared it with us.
“We send solidarity and support to their community in their attempts to quickly raise money to help back home.
“There are many ways people can donate -and people should contact Januario, who can advise on how to do this locally, but there are also other organisations including the Catholic Church and veterans care associations who are also setting up ways to contribute.
“Our thoughts are with those that have lost their homes and livelihoods and we offer condolences to the families of the victims.”
Can you help? Contact Januario
To contact Januario call 07592-415277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In Dili there are over 20 locations of concentrated displaced people, including Dom Bosco school in Comoro. Other locations are religious centres, schools and government buildings.
People left everything behind, most fleeing houses in the dark of the night on Easter Sunday morning. Many more people are sleeping outside, or crammed with family or friends.
Other ways to help
Local health NGO Sabeh has 140 medical volunteers and are supporting the displaced in a number of camps as best they can. They are reporting a dire concern for water borne disease and calling for preventative medications. Local NGOs are working tirelessly and stretched with limited cash flow, mobility and supplies.
Flood disaster in East Timor