Due to COVID 19 constraints, both schools and universities etc. in Timor Lesté have been closed. Most students have had to return to their home village.
All at Across the Timor Sea have been very concerned about the impact this would have on the students’ future academic progress. However, we were reassured that with the ‘isolation’ restrictions, the residents of Ailalec would be much safer there ~ isolated already, high in the mountains.
News of their situation was limited, however when reports finally got through it was even more alarming. There was news of torrential rains and flooding, resulting in the food crops that were ready for harvest, being washed away. The area most affected is lower down the mountain from Ailalec where the bridges across the rivers have been demolished along with houses, leaving 577 families without food, making Ailalec completely inaccessible to the outside world. Telephone reception is also out of order.
It is hard for us to fully comprehend the impact of this loss. People dealing with difficult circumstances, now face inaccessibility, homelessness and hunger.
There are some wonderful people trying to help. Fr Nico has received some rice from the diocese; and he used $1500 from Padua College that he had on hand, to buy rice (though not enough). They are distributing 10kg per family as soon as possible.
~ Students helping to fill bags of rice, ready for distribution.
~ Students, with the bags of rice, loaded and ready to be distributed to the 577 families in need of food.