Timor-Leste making progress implementing disaster response measures, UN official says
A top United Nations official today praised Timor-Leste’s efforts to respond more effectively to natural disasters and encouraged the country’s authorities to support more communities to ensure that vulnerable regions are better protection.
Disaster risk reduction has become an important issue in Timor-Leste due to its propensity to floods, landslides, and prolonged dry spells that can trigger food insecurity, diseases and insect infestations.
The country is also situated on a high-risk area for earthquakes and tsunamis. According to a news release issued by the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), the country suffered from 470 disaster events in the past decade alone.
“Timor-Leste is working hard to respond more effectively to natural disasters,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström during a three-day visit to Dili, the country’s capital.
“A cohesive strategy that focuses on prevention as well as response will help Timor-Leste to protect its development gains and achieve the set targets.”
During her visit, Ms. Wahlström met with Government authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), members of the private sector and academia to exchange ideas on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change measures into national development policies.
Ms. Wahlström also visited a community in the Lautem district, where there have been successful results implementing disaster risk efforts.
“I have seen resilience being built in the community we visited,” she said. “There is an early warning system and the district administration is working to respond effectively and to maintain livelihoods during flood, drought and landslide. It is very important that more communities are supported in similar initiatives to be safer against disasters,” she added.