The floods that hit various parts of the Timorese capital this Friday caused "between three to six victims", a number that the Timorese authorities are yet to update, in addition to having destroyed houses and displaced at least 100 people.
Some information points to between three and six victims. We continue to look for information to know for sure the number of victims. There are victims, but we are not sure how many ”, the Timorese Secretary of State for Civil Protection, Alexandrino de Araújo told Lusa.
The official said that "many things were destroyed, including houses" and the authorities are removing people "to provisional places".
Araújo was speaking to Lusa in Dili, at night, in one of the Civil Protection spaces, in the Bemori neighborhood, near the Santa Cruz cemetery, where about 100 people from 20 families are temporarily housed because of the floods.
An extensive area in the eastern part of the city is without light, with floods causing damage to some services and Electricity in Timor-Leste choosing to turn off others, to avoid electric shocks or short circuits.
Agostinho Cosme, national director of Disaster Risk Management, told Lusa that the families who are going to stay there are only “from the village of Santa Cruz”, but that there are problems in other neighborhoods in various parts of the city.
"Tomorrow we will identify exactly how many people are affected and respond with emergency support," he said.
The Civil Protection official said that this is a provisional site and that the authorities are identifying other areas that could accommodate more affected families.
There are a lot of people, not only here in Santa Cruz, but in almost the entire city. Tonight we are still identifying the most seriously affected people who need to be moved to a place where our people can still stay, ”explained Araújo.
"Tomorrow we will find other alternatives providing emergency support," he said, confirming that there are many areas destroyed.
On Saturday, he explained, the most serious cleaning tasks will begin, covering various areas of the city and spaces such as the Presidency of the Republic, the Portuguese School of Dili – one of the most affected institutions -, the National University Timor Lorosa'e (UNTL) and even the home of the former President of the Republic, Xanana Gusmão, who was also flooded.
“It is necessary for all relevant ministries to meet in an emergency so that each one can assume their responsibilities, and continue to see what emergency support is needed. This is very urgent, ”he said.
Visiting the Portuguese School of Dili, the minister of Public Works, Salvador Soares, told Lusa that Government teams, including the Institute of Management and Equipment are already on the ground, where they will continue overnight.
“We are assessing the situation we have now and obviously the Portuguese School is one of the problems. We are mobilizing heavy equipment to start acting now so that there is no more damage in case it rains again ”, he said.
The government is verifying "all the damage that has been done" and evaluating what is possible to do
Asked about the drainage conditions of the city and the Bidau stream itself, which broke the banks and caused the greatest damage today, Salvador Soares said that the detailed design of the Master Drainage Plan has been completed, but it needs to be implemented.
"The master plan will cost 250 million dollars and we have to allocate funds for that," he said. "For now, we are trying our best to normalize the situation with the resources we have," he said.
The unrestrained and unregulated construction, poor maintenance of the water drainage areas and the construction of houses on the edges of the streams and, in many cases below the level of the road, aggravate the problems in case of heavy rains.
In the case of the river itself, local residents denounce that recent works may have helped to weaken the banks, causing more stones and other material to fall to the bed, which was also silted up in several parts.
This implied that the volume of water carried a large amount of debris, which thickened along the channel, blocking the strong current that climbed the banks.
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