Subject: Red Cross launches appeal for flood-hit East Timor

Red Cross launches appeal for flood-hit East Timor

GENEVA (AFP) - The International Red Cross launched an appeal for 570,000 Swiss francs (470,000 dollars, 365,000 euros) to help victims of flooding in East Timor.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the funds were needed to clean damaged wells, provide shelter for 8,400 people and provide mosquito nets since the waterlogged land risked becoming a malaria blackspot.

Since mid-January, heavy rains, strong winds and flooding have destroyed crops and damaged more than a 1,000 homes in several parts of East Timor, notably the isolated enclave of Oecusse which lies a 15-hour ferry ride from the capital Dili.

The problems caused by the weather are compounding the food shortages which tend to strike in rural areas of the Asian country during the lean months from November to February, said the Red Cross.

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