MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The government of the island state of East Timor on 5 April announced that it has stepped up efforts to minimise the consequences of a major flood that hit the country over the weekend, leaving an estimated 7,000 people displaced and at least 27 dead.
The country’s prime minister, Taur Matan Ruak, has called a special meeting to coordinate the response of various ministries to the crisis. The list of priorities in response efforts includes providing food and shelter to those displaced, fixing damaged infrastructure and restoring traffic, and maintaining the supply of electricity and clean water.
Ruak noted that urgent work is required to unclog drains and clear waterways of silt.
The government has also urged the country’s private sector to donate supplies as humanitarian aid to the affected population or provide assistance in cleaning and fixing damage. To this end, stores selling building materials will be allowed to reopen and operate normally. Restaurants are also encouraged to work for take-away and deliveries.
Ruak expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and promised to make every effort to help families affected by the flood.
The European Union has also extended its condolences to the country, pledging to provide direct disaster relief and through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, if requested.
“The European Union stands in full support of the government and people of Timor-Leste following the devastating floods that have affected Díli and other parts of the country. Our thoughts are with those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims”, the official statement reads.
In addition, the EU expressed willingness to continue supporting the country in battling the COVID pandemic.