In one of the world’s poorest countries, people face problems ranging from landslides to lethal diseases. But with our help, they are taking steps to a safer future.
Where is East Timor?
East Timor, just north of Australia, is a country home to about 1.2 million people. It became independent in 2002 and is also known as Timor-Leste.
What threats do people face?
Poverty and natural disasters, such as drought, landslides and flooding, put many of East Timor’s people at risk.
Clean, safe water can be hard to find. Most communities use public taps or unprotected springs to get what they need.
But people lack the skills and materials to build toilets or fix broken water systems, and may not know the risks of defecating in the open.
Health problems affecting people in East Timor include diarrhoea, malaria, TB, malnutrition, dengue fever and sexually transmitted infections. Problems during pregnancy and childbirth are the biggest cause of death for women.
How are we helping?
We are part of project helping rural communities to prepare for, cope with and recover from disasters and crises.
Our work starts before emergencies have even happened, building flood defences and teaching people what to do when disaster strikes.
We are also boosting people’s incomes by promoting more effective farming and fishing techniques, and helping families find new ways to make money. The project also includes support for mothers and pregnant women, as well as first aid training.
We are raising awareness about common health problems such as malaria and TB, and even supporting cooking courses where families can learn how to enjoy a healthier diet.
And new water pumps and latrines, as well as vital hygiene information, are cutting the risk of disease.
What role do local people play?
The project is made possible by thousands of local Red Cross volunteers. And the communities themselves play a big role in helping plan the work and making sure it runs properly.
For example, committees of local people make sure the new water systems are kept in working order.