Disaster READY: Preparing for drought - Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste is prone to natural disasters, including droughts, which place already vulnerable populations at risk of disease, malnutrition and loss of livelihoods.
In February 2018, World Vision delivered Community-Owned Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (COVACA) training to the District Disaster Management Committee in Tatelori, Bobonaro Municipality. Participants included representatives from the ministries of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Agriculture and Fisheries, Interior, State Administration and the Ministry of Public Works, and the Red Cross and community members.
Rui, a Tatelori resident, said community members were concerned about drought. Drought means reduced access to clean water, higher health risks, failed crops and food shortages.
The meeting proved a catalyst for the Tatelori community. They worked with the Disaster Management Committee to plan their drought response and the Disaster READY team helped them identify and prioritise the risk and develop mitigation and management responses.
“Eventually, we came up with our action plan that can help to protect our water resources by planting tree seedlings, which can preserve water as well as protect against landslides,” Rui said.
During May and June, the Tatelori community planted 75 tree seedlings around three water sources. Through Disaster READY, World Vision assisted with the construction of fences and distribution of drip irrigation materials.
The training did not only directly benefit the Tatelori community. Government official, Sabino de Jesus, reflected that previously public sector disaster response was focused on distributing emergency relief supplies and collecting data, with little in the way of preparedness.
“This COVACA training was really new to me and very beneficial because I learned the action plans, monitoring and evaluation and measure of preparedness before natural disasters strike,” he said.
Mr de Jesus put his new skills into practice when he went on to train a further six communities in COACA tools in March and April, 2018.