Over 100 deaths after Tropical Cyclone Seroja and torrential rain lead to flooding and landslides in Timor-Leste and Indonesia

Houses swept away by the overflowing Comoro River. Photo: Dan Convoy/CRS

At least 113 people have been killed and dozens more are missing after Tropical Cyclone Seroja hit Indonesia and Timor-Leste on Sunday 4 April.  

27 people have died in Timor-Leste, the nation of 1.3 million that lies between Indonesia and Australia. According to preliminary reports from Timor-Leste, approximately 10,325 people have been affected by the extreme weather, with over 76 per cent of the affected people in Dili municipality. The rains have been so heavy that the presidential palace in the capital, Dili, was transformed into a mud pit.  

Another 86 people were killed in Indonesia, with another 71 reported missing. In Indonesia at least 2,655 people over 18 districts have been affected by the flooding or landslides, with significant damage to households, bridges and roads.   

There are concerns about the impact that this disaster will have on testing for COVID-19. Indonesia has reported more than 1.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 41,000 deaths as of 5 April. Although Timor-Leste has only confirmed 714 cases so far, the COVID-19 isolation facility had to be evacuated due to the flooding, and the national laboratory was also temporarily affected by the flooding. 

Caritas Australia is working with local partners, including churches and NGOs, to assess needs on the ground and provide immediate support to vulnerable communities 

Tropical Cyclone Seroja is now increasing in strength as it moves towards the west coast of Australia.  

Families across Asia are impacted by disasters including cyclones, extreme flooding and landslides. Our lifesaving work with our partners on the ground means that vulnerable families can get the support they need during crises, as well as vital information to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  To support people impacted by disaster in Asia, please donate to our Asia Emergency Appeal. 

Further updates will follow.