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Jakarta Post

Pope prays for Palu quake victims as countries offer help

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 1, 2018   /   12:46 pm
Pope prays for Palu quake victims as countries offer help A group of people look at what remains of the landmark Ponulele Bridge, which collapsed into Talise Bay on Sept. 28, when a 7.4-earthquake hit Palu, Central Sulawesi. (JP/Ruslan Sangadji)

The international community has expressed its condolence and offered assistance to the victims of a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Central Sulawesi, which was followed by a deadly tsunami and mudflow.

Pope Francis led a prayer on Sunday at the Vatican for Indonesia's earthquake victims, expressing his "nearness to the people on the island of Sulawesi”. Thousands of Catholics gathered in St. Peter’s Square to recite the Angelus in a mass prayer.

"I pray for the deceased – which are unfortunately numerous – for the wounded, and for those who have lost their homes and employment. May the Lord console them and sustain the efforts of those who are taking part in the relief efforts," he said as quoted by

The United States also conveyed its condolences and expressed support for those affected on Sunday in Washington, DC. 

"US Mission Indonesia is closely monitoring the situation, and has not received reports of US citizens affected," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in an official press statement. 

The US and Indonesia were "strategic partners and friends", she said, adding that the country stood ready to assist in the relief effort.

Like the US, Australia also expressed its condolences while noting that no Australians were known to be affected "at this stage", according to a press statement on Monday from the Australian government. 

"We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences and those of the Australian government to the people of the Republic of Indonesia following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Minahasa Peninsula, Sulawesi," the press statement said, on behalf of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

"As a close neighbor, Australia stands ready to support the Indonesian government’s response efforts, if required," the statement said, adding that the Australian government had been in direct contact with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi.

Earlier on Saturday, Singapore called on its citizens in Central Sulawesi and surrounding regions to take "necessary safety precautions, monitor the local news for updates, and heed the advice of the local authorities". 

"Singaporeans should also stay in touch with your family and friends so that they know you are safe. Those who require consular assistance should contact our embassy in Jakarta at +62811863348 or the 24-hour Minister of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +6563798800/8855," Singapore's Foreign Ministry spokesperson advised in a press statement.

The notice came following the evacuation of a Singaporean national from Palu by the Singaporean embassy in Jakarta, in coordination with Indonesian authorities.

The statement, uploaded to the ministry's website, also said that the Singaporean government extended its "deepest condolences to Indonesia, and the families who lost loved ones and were affected by the earthquakes and tsunami".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also conveyed his personal condolences on his Twitter account (@RT_Erdogan).

"I pray for our brothers and sisters who were killed in an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded and offer my deepest condolences to the people of Indonesia," he tweeted. "Turkey is prepared to do everything in its power to help Indonesia heal its wounds." 

At least 832 people have been killed and another 540 people injured in the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Sulawesi on Sept. 28, which was followed by several aftershocks, a tsunami and mudslides, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's (BNPB) data on Sunday. (evi)