The International Stabilisation Force in East Timor, led by Australian troops, lent a hand in Dili as heavy rain threatened to engulf a school in the capital of East Timor.
President Jose Ramos-Horta asked ISF Commander Colonel Mick Reilly to help the Bombeiros (fire service) to pump water and unblock drainage pipes as flood water and landslides from the hills around Dili were threatening to damage roads and flood surrounding buildings.
Colonel Reilly explained:
“Dili is closely surrounded by mountains, so during the wet season they act like funnels, channeling the water down onto the city below. After heavy rain, such as what happened over the last few days, it was inevitable roads and homes would be at risk.
“I was really proud of the efforts of ISF. Many of those volunteering to help come from cyclone- and flood-ravaged Queensland and Victoria. Although they can’t be in Australia helping out, assisting Dili residents to save their homes and schools, is no less important work.”
Early in the morning on Monday 8th February; teams set to work with heavy machinery and spades, and were finished in the same day. The Prime Minister of East Timor personally visited the site to thank the ISF.