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CARE’s supporting local communities for disaster preparedness
Under the Australian Humanitarian Partnership, CARE International in Timor-Leste worked with the Suco Disaster Management Committee to support the community in preparing Disaster Preparedness Plan to respond to disasters. During the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Plan development process at aldeia and suco level, community representatives and Suco Disaster Management Committee members reflected on the problem, realized the need for water spring protection and therefore decided to establish a water tank as part of priority activities. The objective was to reduce the workload of women and girls working long distance to fetch water for household chores as well as to support people with disabilities to access water during long drought. The water tank was installed in Caivaihoo Aldeia in July 2019 and is now being used by the community for their daily needs.
Ossu De Cima is a suco located in Ossu Administrative Post in Viqueque Municipality in Timor-Leste. In 2018 and 2019, Suco Ossu De Cima, particularly Caivaihoo, Uairiu and Liamida aldeias experienced significant long drought due to the effect of climate change in that location. The long drought caused a significant decrease of spring water from Dero-Ono source, which used to provide clean drinking water to the three aldeias to support the community in day-to-day household chores including but not limited to cooking and washing. As the closest water source was no longer functioning, and in order to meet different household needs requiring clean water, women and girls had to walk for a distance of 2-3 kilometers for collecting clean water to the nearest spring water in other locations such as Nunu Bena, Uaitono, Uhu Uai Rate, three to four times a day.
During the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Plan development process at aldeia and suco level (implemented as part of the AHP Disaster READY program), community representatives and Suco Disaster Management Committee members reflected on the problem, realized the need for water spring protection and therefore decided to establish a water tank as part of priority activities. The objective was to reduce the workload of women and girls walking long distances to fetch water for household chores as well as to support people with disabilities to access water during long drought. The water tank was installed in Caivaihoo Aldeia in July 2019 and is now being used by the community for their daily needs.
Amaro Melo Cabral Hornai, a 75-year-old man from Caivaihoo Aldeia, lives with impaired sight. He shared his happiness of accessing clean water and ability to meet his family’s daily needs: “I’m 75 years old, I’m unable to see objects that are far away from me. My daily activities include caring for small animals at home while my wife and my kids go for farming or collect firewood and water. I feel very excited as I can access clean water through the installed water hose and help my family members in collecting water. This water protection and water tank was very helpful. I am grateful to the community representatives in Suco Disaster Management Committee and CARE International organization because they have considered our needs and made our dream come true! I hope that the water tank contains enough water to be used by the community during the long drought, and I’m happy that I can now help my family to collect water and reduce their workload during long drought in case it happens again”.
Joaninha da Costa, a 39-year-old woman in Caivaihoo, is also one of the community members who benefited from the water source protection. This is what she had to say: “DERO ONO Spring water is the main closest water source that provides us clean water for households’ daily needs such as drinking, cooking and washing. Few years ago, PNDS supported us with one water reservoir. However, the long drought (rain came late) caused a tremendous decrease in DERO ONO spring water and one water reservoir is no more enough to meet the needs of the population from all the three aldeias with a total of 254 households. We used to go to collect water in Nunu Bena, Uaitono and Uhu Uai Rate, which takes us 2-3 hours to and from the nearest water source 3 to 4 times a day. As a housewife, my daily activities includes taking care of my child, cooking for my family and collecting food and firewood. During the long drought, my workload had more than doubled and I was feeling bad as I was overloaded by household chores due to long distances traveled to and from Nunu Bena to fetch water. Sometimes there was no enough water for cooking and drinking. I know that this will portray such a bad family health situation I was in, but this is the reality.
Now, I am very happy with the decision made by SDMC members to build one more water reservoir in DERO ONO through CARE – Prontu ba Dezastre. The two reservoirs now contain enough water for the community even during a long drought in case it happens again. Reservoirs pipe in water during nighttime and distribute to the community in daytime. I hope the SDMC will effectively manage the water distribution”.
Leonia Freitas Hornai, a 28-year-old woman in Caivaihoo, said, “This water tank was very beneficial for Caivaihoo, Uairiu and Liamida aldeias communities: Before the water tank was built, we were walking around 1 km to fetch water from Nunu Kama spring water source. After the water reservoir was built, this was very helpful since we always have water to use in our daily households activities and the tanks can even reserve more water to use during the dry season. This has significantly reduced my workload as a woman since we don’t have to walk very long distances to collect water for our household use”.