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Govt-UN launch socio-economic impact assessment of Covid-19 in TL

Govt-UN launch socio-economic impact assessment of Covid-19 in TL

DILI, 09 october 2021 (TATOLI) – The Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations launched the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of Covid-19 in Timor-Leste, Round 2, 2021 (SEIA-2).

SEIA-2 was conducted between the month of july and september, this year.

In his opening remarks at the launching of the reports of the SEIA-2, UN Resident Coordinator, Roy Trivedy said the pandemic has disproportionately affected the poorest households and the most vulnerable groups of people in Timor-Leste.

He said SEIA-2 provides some up-to-date data about the Covid-19 impacts in Timor-Leste: “Impacts on employment, food security, and general wellbeing.”

Trivedy emphasized that SEIA-2 is a shared resource for the government, as well as all development partners, civil society, and others to improve policies, strategies, plans, and programs of all stakeholders.

At the same place, Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak said the government always had the perception that the pandemic crisis that struck humanity at the beginning of last year would have a strong impact on the economy and in social welfare in most States, with particular severity in the economies and societies of the most vulnerable or developing States.

“Aware of the seriousness of the impact of the pandemic crisis on the Timorese economy and society, the government has approved and implemented, in 2020 and 2021, a wide range of emergency measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the pandemic in Timor-Leste, as well as Economic Recovery Plan, which includes a set of actions aimed at stimulating economic activity and growth, which are prerequisites for improving the living conditions of all Timorese.

Ruak said that “Nevertheless, the research was carried out and whose result is presented today will enable the government to accurately and surely assess the impact that the pandemic crisis had on the Timorese economic and social fabric and, based on the this, to review, develop, approve, and implement public policies and strategies that are capable of responding and adequately to the negative impact that the pandemic had on our economy and society but also so that the process of economic and social recovery can take place as quickly as possible in the country.”

Economic impacts 

According to the reports of the SEIA-2, during the Covid-19, about 43.3 percent of the young adult aged 25 to 39 was the most affected group, who lost their jobs.

“Poorest households and those outside Dili had used more severe livelihood coping strategies – especially borrowing money, selling livestock, and reducing education and health costs,” said Resident Representative of UNDP in Timor-Leste, Munkhtuya Altangerel.

She said 90% of households in Liquica had used a coping strategy whereas this number was lower in Viqueque (41%) and Dili (44%). Oecusse had the highest (33%) of households using emergency coping strategies in contrast to Baucau, (0%). Manatuto and Bobonaro had the highest number of households (46% and 39%) using crisis coping strategies.

Social impacts

Altangerel provided that 37 percent of students did not continue studying during or continued study irregularly.

She said according to the research, 51.4 of students did not continue studying due to lack of printed learning materials, adding only 5.6 percent continued study irregularly due to Covid-19.

In addition, Altangerel said that 88% of those who could not regularly access health services were living outside Dili: “For Poorest households, health service utilization decreased (14.2%) more than wealthiest households (3.7%). In SEIA-2, the proportion of households who at least one symptom (62.7%) was higher than in SEIA-1 (40%) during the two months before the interviews.”

Concerning community resilience and social cohesion, about 6.1 percent of households received support from church/other social institutions, 5.7 percent from NGOs, 3,3 percent from neighbors and community members.

In addition, 70 percent of all households had received help – mostly in the form of food (37.9%) and cash support (19.0). However, the most vulnerable and the poorest households received the least. The most vulnerable, the poorest, and households outside Dili received from relatives in the forms of food and cash support.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario

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