In East Timor alone it is estimated that over ten thousand people have been displaced by the floods and thousands the destroyed homes and infrastructures, for the most part concentrated in the country's capital, in Dili, which in recent days has been defined as a "pit of mud". Among the areas affected and damaged, there are also two isolation facilities for those affected by Covid-19 and the national hospital "Guido Valadares", which also raises concerns about possible repercussions in the fight against Covid-19.
In such a difficult context, even if they are also tried by circumstances, the Salesians of the "Saint Callisto Caravario" Vice Province of East Timor (TLS) have done and are doing what they do best: they put themselves at the service of the most needy.
Fr Manuel Pinto, Vicar of the TLS Vice Province, tells us:
Our celebration of Easter vigil and Sunday Easter in East Timor was never meant to go back to normal. Two consecutive celebrations of Easter (2020-2021), which saw churches and chapels normally crowded by faithful people, were reduced to five to ten people only attending because of COVID-19.
Aside from the COVID-19, what surprised us more in the entire country on Sunday Easter was the huge natural calamities of heavy rain and strong winds which were followed by landslides, floods everywhere. Rivers destroyed bridges, thousands of poor families lost their shelters and things, and even many of lives were gone including one of our former Salesians, Alcino Kefi (student in Postnovitiate). Dili, the capital, and some other districts were living under water. Many people are without clean water, no food, homeless and many more with nowhere to hide and shelter. Fortunately those living near the religious communities were able to find places and able to have some humanitarian help.
Don Bosco’s communities of Comoro, particularly the community of the Training Centre, were able to host more than 3,000 people living around us - our parishioners and those who were brought by the International Red Cross. The Rector of Don Bosco Training Centre, Fr. Hermenegildo Pereira SDB, and the Principal Bro. Adriano de Jesus SDB are the main coordinators and always standby to welcome the people with a Salesian smile. Our Practical Trainees and other 40 Post-novices were also on standby to give a hand to assist and distribute things.
The Good Lord is continuously sending us food, water, clothes and many other basic needs through so many generous people, NGOs, our past-pupils and the Salesian Family. May the God of love recompense their kindness.
Let’s pray for all those displaced people in Timor Leste and in all parts of the world. May the Risen Lord bless them all. Hallelujah.