Rotary calls for community help with cyclone destruction

A local woman in Uai Sa'e, Baucau, where Cyclone Seroja tore through schools, hospitals and homes in early April.

A local woman in Uai Sa'e, Baucau, where Cyclone Seroja tore through schools, hospitals and homes in early April.

Rotary Margaret River is continuing its support for the people of Timor Leste and have called on the local community to dig deep in a time of need.

"Not many people in Margaret River, or Australia, have heard of the disaster caused by Cyclone Seroja that affected our closest neighbour - Timor Leste in early April," explains Rotary spokesperson Lynne Warren.

"The cyclone delivered devastating rains and high winds to Timor and caused massive flooding and landslides.

"The capital, Dili, and surrounding areas were hardest hit with at least about 26,000 households affected, 45 people dead and 4500 homes destroyed.

"There are still nearly 5000 people in 26 evacuation centres throughout the country."

Faced with a huge cleanup and recovery, the East Timorese are also dealing with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

"The national pharmaceutical stockpile with the country's COVID-19 vaccines was seriously damaged in the cyclone," said Ms Warren.

"Since 2011 Margaret River Rotary and the Margaret River Lions have supported the annual High School Leavers trips to Timor to work with villages on projects that are important for their children and communities.

"Due to the pandemic we were unable to go in 2020 and again this year.

"However, we still have many friends in Timor and we would like to try and assist some of the people seriously affected by the cyclone, particularly in areas where we have worked on the School Leavers Experience trips.

We still have many friends in Timor and we would like to try and assist some of the people seriously affected by the cyclone, particularly in areas where we have worked on the School Leavers Experience trips

Lynne Warren, Rotary Margaret River

"Our initial aim is to assist The Good Crocodile Foundation, where we worked in 2018 and who provide medical clinics and training to a large, poor area east of Dili, and the Saint Clara Orphanage in Dili, where we worked in 2019, which cares for about 40 orphans from 2 to 16 years age.

"And several villages on Atauro Island, where we have been each year of the program and who have lost the majority of their food crops, so hunger will be a real issue.

"All funds raised will go towards food, medicines, bedding, cooking utensils and other essentials."

This is the extent of the woman's housing and belongings after the dstructive cyclone.

This is the extent of the woman's housing and belongings after the dstructive cyclone.

Funds raised by Rotary Margaret River will be channelled through 'Rotarians Helping Timor', an NGO in Dili which is affiliated with the Rotary Club of Dili and has a major role in distributing equipment and essentials sent by Rotary from Australia.

If anyone would like to donate, please contact Lynne Warren on 0408 928 482.

You can also contribute directly into the Rotary Club of Margaret River Timor account: BSB: 016-520; Acc. no. 5284 26587.