(Timor-Indonesia). Since 4 April 2021, heavy floods and landslides caused by intense rains have affected the area of the capital of East Timor, Dili, some islands not far from eastern Indonesia, including Flores Island, and the western part of Timor Island, belonging to Indonesia. Dozens and dozens of missing people, hundreds of homes overwhelmed and buried by mudslides and landslides, kilometers of destroyed roads, and several thousand displaced people who had to leave their homes, some of which were completely swept away by the waters.
The FMA Communities of “St. Mary D. Mazzarello” (TIN) have not suffered material damage. In Dili Comoro, the river which is normally dry, flooded the houses built on the river bank. In this area there are 3 FMA communities. In Mary Help of Christians School, 50 families were welcomed, mainly women and children. In “Comoro Don Bosco” center, the Salesians of Don Bosco welcomed more than 1000 people in the gymnasium.
At Dili Balide, there is an FMA community. The green area behind the house is a hill of soft ground, prone to landslides, and there are many houses. The abundance of water caused the landslide of the hill slopes which also brought the houses with it. Many people took refuge in the FMA community, which welcomed about 350 people, including 56 families, women, and children.
Many families have lost their homes, just as many have a house full of mud. The children are very frightened and a chain of solidarity was immediately created among the people.
The neighbors, simple and enterprising people, given the influx of families at the sisters’ house, brought food. Benefactors (joined them, bringing rice, eggs, blankets) and some NGOs.
The young women of the Production Center of the Professional Bakery School, unable to return to their homes due to confinement from Covid-19, continued to make bread and sweets to be distributed to families given hospitality in Salesian houses.
The situation is complex. The Comoro area is in confinement because there are many positive cases of Covid-19 in the neighborhood where the FMA communities are and in those nearby. The first positive case also arrived in Venilale, coming from Dili. The emergencies are now Covid-19 and flooding.
The FMA, with missionary courage and audacity, are responding to the emergency, offering hospitality to those who do not have a home or cannot return to their homes, especially by accompanying children and guaranteeing basic needs: accommodation, food, and basic medicines. In the future, we must also think about the reconstruction of the houses.
In disasters, hospitality saves, protects, strengthens fraternity, and consolidates bonds, taking concrete care of those in conditions of suffering.
It is possible to send contributions and offerings in the manner indicated on the Institute Web Site of the FMA, indicating in the reason for payment the reported emergency.
“God is never outdone in generosity” (Don Bosco – MB II,254)