• Crisis Severity ?
    1.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    2.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    1.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    1.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 1,293,000 Total population [?]
  • 33,000 People affected [?]
  • 9,000 People displaced [?]

Overview

28/04/2021

Tropical Cyclone Seroja hit Indonesia and Timor-Leste on 4 April. From 29 March–4 April, torrential rains caused by the cyclone triggered flash floods and landslides in Timor-Leste, affecting all 13 municipalities in the country to varying degrees. The capital city, Dili, and the surrounding low-lying areas are among the worst affected, with large parts still under water.?

As at 21 April, 6,000 people were temporarily displaced within 30 evacuation facilities across the municipality of Dili, and 45 fatalities had been recorded across the country. ?4,600 houses were damaged or destroyed by the floods. There is also severe damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, and medical centres. Damage to roads and bridges has impacted overland travel in and around affected areas, disrupting rescue attempts. Water, electricity, and internet supplies have been affected. Power disruptions are expected to persist in the country until at least early May.?

As well as the displaced populations hosted in evacuation centres, many people – mostly women and children – have potentially found refuge in informal evacuation sites, particularly in Tasi Tolu (Dili district). They likely require urgent humanitarian assistance. Tasi Tolu remained inaccessible until 12 April, and needs assessments are still ongoing. Authorities and aid organisations are still discovering the full extent of the impact of the floods in some regions because of travel complications caused by damaged roads and COVID-19 containment measures?

 

Latest Developments

09/05/2021

Torrential rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Seroja over 29 March-4 April triggered flash floods, affecting the whole country to varying degrees. 41 fatalities have been recorded. As of 6 May, 3,012 people are temporarily displaced within 17 evacuation facilities across the municipality of Dili. 3,350 houses were damaged or destroyed by the floods. Floods have caused severe damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, and medical centres, impacting overland travel. Hindered access has slowed assessments and there is a lack of data and information from some flood-affected municipalities. There is a high risk of disease outbreaks in the coming weeks, particularly dengue, which is endemic in the country, and COVID-19. Several health facilities were affected by the floods, causing loss of medicine, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment. The situation will likely put a further strain on Timor-Leste’s overstretched health system. ?

KEY PRIORITIES

28/04/2021

Health: There is a high risk of disease outbreaks in the coming weeks, particularly of dengue, which is endemic in the country. The most recent outbreak occurred in Dili in 2019. The situation will likely put a further strain on Timor-Leste’s overstretched health system. Hospitals had already reported shortages of basic medicines in January 2021, because of high prices and a weak distribution infrastructure ?(Garda 08/04/2021; Sydney Morning Herald 09/04/2021)(ADB 26/01/2021).

Shelter and non-food items (NFIs): NFIs and supplies for safe temporary shelter, food and cooking facilities, and medicine are needed in the evacuation centres. Construction materials for reparations, cleaning materials for flooded houses, and support in assisting the returnees are also a priority (OCHA 13/04/2021; UN News 05/04/2021).

Food security: More than 1,600 hectares of rice and 295 hectares of other agricultural products were damaged by the floods in at least six municipalities. The most affected municipalities were Aileu, Bobonaro, Ermera, and Manatuto (MundoAoMinuto 13/04/2021; Observador 13/04/2021). Crop losses will likely lead to an increase in food insecurity, affecting already low food stock levels and increasing food prices.

COVID-19 BOX

28/04/2021

Prior to the floods caused by Tropical Cyclone Seroja, Timor-Leste was in the grip of a new wave of COVID-19. The official number of cases had surged tenfold from just over 100 to almost 1,000 in March 2021. With the strict lockdown in Dili municipality temporarily suspended on 9 April because of the flood response, the risk of further spread of COVID-19 remains high. The National Health Laboratory, the Autonomous Service for Medicines and Health Equipment, the Timorese central pharmacy, and the medical supplies depot where COVAX vaccines are to be stored were affected by the floods, hampering COVID-19 containment efforts. Crowded temporary shelters and a lack of isolation facilities and WASH infrastructure could lead to a potential COVID-19 outbreak among displaced people in evacuation facilities. ?

INFORMATION GAPS

28/04/2021
  • There is insufficient data and information on the affected population, as assessments are still ongoing outside Dili because of limited access.
  • There is also a lack of gender and age-disaggregated data.
  • There is also insufficient data regarding the situation before the cyclone; for example, there is no information on food insecurity.