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Exceptional flash floods have hit Timor-Leste’s capital city, Dili, along with other major population centres including Viqueque. The floods have already reportedly claimed over 27 lives, with many areas remaining under water.

Approximately 1,500 families in Dili alone have had to relocate to one of 11 emergency accommodation centres.

“Women and children are 14 times more at risk of death and injury in an emergency and the aftermath”, warns Peter Goodfellow, Country Director of aid agency, CARE International in Timor-Leste.

“Women bear the most responsibilities for households and young children in Timor-Leste, as they do worldwide, and this puts them at the heart of the danger in a situation like this. These are the very real impacts of gender inequality.

“Our first concern is to make sure that all evacuees, especially women and children, and people with disabilities, have access to safe accommodation and the food and essentials they need right now.

Recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in Timor-Leste have further complicated efforts to house people safely, with the government and local and international NGOs providing masks and hand sanitiser to evacuees. Every effort is being made to ensure that families can socially distance from each other.

“This flooding event is the largest in around 50 years. We’re seeing widespread damage.

“It is critical that we move quickly and carefully to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during this emergency. If the floods cause a super-spreader event, it will put a damaged and strained health care system under extraordinary pressure”, concluded Peter Goodfellow.

For interviews contact Hayley Conway on 0484 313 466.