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PHL ‘to extend assistance’ to Indonesia

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damaged bridge earthquake tsunami
An aerial view shows bridge damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Sept. 29. -- REUTERS

MALACAÑANG in a statement on Sunday said,“We join the people of Indonesia in offering our prayers to the hundreds who died after a powerful 7.4 earthquake and tsunami hit Central Sulawesi last Friday.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. also said “the only Filipino in the area is safe,” and the Philippine government is “ready to respond and extend assistance to Indonesia.”

DFA identified the Filipino survivor as “a detainee serving his sentence at the Lapas Penitentiary.”

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement: “We grieve with our Indonesian brothers and sisters and stand hand in hand with them in praying for all of those who lost their lives in this tragedy.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said, citing Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong T. Wee, that “the earthquake and tsunami struck the provincial capital of Palu and the neighboring city of Donggala” last Friday, Sept. 28.

“The Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) placed the initial death toll at 384 people with more than 500 injured. At least 29 are still missing,” the DFA added.




The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the United States (US) said in a statement it is extending help through its local partners in Indonesia, the Caritas Makassar and the Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC).

“Responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10-12 hours. That means a bottleneck for relief supplies in coming days. Those long hours on the road are going to mean hours lost getting assistance to people who need it in the next few days. Another option in coming days will be sea routes. The Ministry of Transportation is sending in relief by ship from North Sulawesi,” Yenni Suryani, CRS’ country manager in Indonesia, was quoted as saying.

The European Union (EU), for its part, said it “has already activated its emergency Copernicus satellite mapping service to assist the [Indonesian] authorities.”

“We continue to closely monitor the situation, and we are ready to mobilise more assistance,” the EU also said. — Arjay L. Balinbin