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Timor Leste

 These farmers are part of a cooperative that won a nutrition award from the Timorese president. CREDIT: Wendy Levy
 
Farmers in Timor Leste call the months from November to February “the hungry season”, and this year could be even worse than usual thanks to poor harvests related to the weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña.

Read more: In Timor Leste, “hunger season” will be worse after El Niño

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Leopoldina Guterres (right) talks with a local villager at a fresh-water spring on a mountain in Baguia, where women gather every day to fill their jugs. Scientists say climate change could exacerbate dry-season water shortages in the mountains across Timor Leste.

Every morning in the sparsely populated region of Baguia, high in the mountains of Timor-Leste, women and children rise hours before dawn. They grab a couple of jugs and trek to the nearest spring, where they wait in line, in the dark. For water. They wait and wait, with dozens of others, to fetch just enough water for a day’s worth of cooking, washing and drinking. “The chickens are still asleep when we get up,” community leader and school principal Leopoldina Guterres told me.

Read more: Thirsting for a Paris Deal in Timor Leste

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Photo credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret, via Flickr

Some of the most effective adaptation solutions are sometimes found in nature – take, for example, mangrove forests that live along tropical shorelines in parts of Asia and the Pacific. They grow where land and sea meet and they are the first line of defense against ocean-borne storms and hurricanes heading inland.

“Mangroves are a remarkable group of tough, salt-tolerant trees and shrubs that not only survive, but thrive in shallow seawaters,” said Raimundo Mau, who is a Director-General at Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Read more: Bringing mangroves back as defenders of climate change impacts

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