Timor-Leste is a South East Asia country with intensive monsoon seasons between November and March and therefore exposed to natural disasters. It has also remote regions due to its mountainous topography and lack of infrastructure, where isolated and vulnerable communities live.
In 2019, the country needed an integrated Early Warning System (EWS) to improve its natural disaster management, and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) kicked-off the project along with many relevant stakeholders – Ministry of Interior, National Directorate for Disaster Risk Management, National Disaster Centre, Meteorology, Water Resources Management and the Institute of Petroleum and Geology.
Similie was the chosen technical partner to implement Timor-Leste’s National Early Warning System, a project funded by UNDP, which started in July 2019. The scope was set to cover four possible natural disaster risks: winds, fires, floods and landslides.
The project included putting pre-existing monitoring stations under the National Disaster Risks’ responsibility and integrating them into the cloud- based EWS platform designed and customised by Similie, and as well as installing new monitoring EWS sites.
Simile worked with Timor-Leste’s Government technical group of experts to define the thresholds (green, orange, red) and actions to be taken. Automatic alerts were also set through SMS and email, linked to its respective risk status (eg: high or very high risk of floods / winds), to be sent to government bodies and communities.
Though there is still a pilot phase for the project, we can say that in the future the population of Timor-Leste will be better prepared to respond to multi-hazard natural disasters. And although it is not possible to forecast or avoid unfortunate events, the government and communities are undoubtedly empowered to act fast and promote actions, reducing natural disaster risks that impact on community resilience, while saving lives.