China and UNICEF support communities impacted by floods in Timor-Leste

Funds will support children's education, nutrition, water and sanitation

20 February 2024
Children are screened for malnutrition in Dili, in the aftermath of the April 2021 floods in Timor-Leste.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2021/B Benevides
Children are screened for malnutrition in Dili, in the aftermath of the April 2021 floods in Timor-Leste.

Dili, 19 February 2024 – The Government of China and UNICEF have launched a US $1.5 million project to complement the Government of Timor-Leste’s support to communities impacted by floods and COVID-19. Through the project, 'Emergency support to children in response to floods and COVID-19 in Timor-Leste', 146,000 people affected by floods, will access quality education, nutrition, water and sanitation services, which will help in their recovery from the damage caused by floods.

"The Chinese Government has closely followed and constantly supported the development of Timor-Leste, engaging in close cooperation with Timor-Leste in the fields of infrastructure, health, agriculture and education," H.E. Wang Wenli, Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste, said. "This emergency support project, jointly implemented with the UNICEF Timor-Leste, involves a considerable amount of funding and a longer project duration, covering major cities throughout the country. The project is expected to benefit around 150,000 children and women, aiming to provide tangible assistance for their lives and education. We also hoped that through this project, people in Timor-Leste could receive the support and encouragement from friendly countries like China."

The most devasting floods in the recent history of Timor-Leste were in April 2021, which came against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and affected all 13 municipalities in Timor-Leste, with the capital Dili and the surrounding low-lying areas being the worst affected. Forty eight (48) people lost their lives, more than 30,367 households were affected and cut off from clean water sources, while learning activities were disrupted as 34 schools and the teachers training center were damaged.

According to Government estimates, the total damage and loss due to the April 2021 floods was US $307.7 million. Despite the ongoing efforts on the part of the Government and partners, affected communities continue to need recovery assistance, especially related to nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, and education.

"Recovery in the aftermath of floods requires a long-term response as affected communities are already struggling with multiple vulnerabilities in health, nutrition, education, and water and sanitation, even before the floods hit," Bilal Zeb Aurang Durrani, UNICEF Representative to Timor-Leste, said. "UNICEF appreciates this support from the Government of China, which will contribute to building back basic social services for children and families, while also supporting the setting up of disaster risk reduction mechanisms to mitigate against the impact of future weather events."

From the onset of the flooding, UNICEF has been working closely with the Government of Timor-Leste, to respond to the urgent needs of children and families in the areas of water and sanitation, nutrition, and education. Under this 18-month support from the Government of China, UNICEF will continue its support to the Government of Timor-Leste to respond to the effects of the floods, while also supporting communities to fully recover and be more resilient to future disasters.

In four municipalities, Dili, Ainaro, Ermera and Baucau, 83,000 children will be reached with critical nutrition services and 34,000 pregnant women will be supported with counselling services on nutrition and breastfeeding. Supporting access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), 10,000 people (2,000 households) from these municipalities will be reached with improved WASH services. In education, the project will reach over 24,400 children, who will benefit from improved school environments in 34 schools in Dili, Baucau, Lautem, Liquica and Manufahi.

Many countries in the East Asia and the Pacific region, including Timor-Leste, are faced with multiple, often overlapping climate and environmental hazards and shocks such as heavy rains and flooding. This causes risks to the lives of children and their families. Within the framework of the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, the Government of China is supporting UNICEF Timor-Leste to provide life-saving assistance to children and families affected by climate-induced emergencies, such as floods.

Media contacts

Xi Wang
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Timor Leste
Tel: +670 78174297
Tapuwa Mutseyekwa
UNICEF Advocacy and Communication Specialist
Tel: +670 77231103


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