Selasa, 02 Oktober 2018

WORLD LEADERS EXTEND SYMPATHIES OVER DEADLY SULAWESI EARTHQUAKE by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 2, 2018 (Antara) - Indonesia is not alone in grieving over the devastation caused by a deadly earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit several districts in Central Sulawesi Province on September 28, 2018.
         Several world leaders have expressed sympathies and condolences over at least 1,234 deaths, 799 injured, 99 missing, and nearly 60 thousand displaced people in Central Sulawesi. Some of the leaders have also offered assistance.
        Among the world leaders are US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
        "It sends across a strong message that we are not alone in these difficult times," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) wrote on his Facebook account, according to information on the Cabinet Secretary's official website on October 2, 2018.
        Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto revealed that 18 countries -- the United States, France, Czech, Switzerland, Norway, Hungary, Turkey, the European Union (EU), Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, India, and China -- have pledged help.

        The EU, United Nations Development Program, and ASEAN have also offered assistance in the aftermath of the magnitude-7.4 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the districts of Palu, Donggala, Sigi, and Parigi Moutong in Central Sulawesi. 
   The Indonesian Government has decided to welcome specific foreign aid to contribute to the rescue and recovery efforts in Central Sulawesi, Wiranto stated.
        The country needs aid for emergency response and direct assistance to the affected residents, such as air transport, among others, C-130 Hercules aircraft and Boeing 737-400 and -500 series planes, tents, paramedics, makeshift hospitals, sanitary facilities, food, clean water, and fogging tool.
        Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarked on Oct 1 that he had been "following the unfolding tragedy."
   "Our hearts go out to all affected by the earthquake and tsunami. My deepest condolences to all who have lost family and friends," he noted, adding that the UN system was "mobilizing to support government-led rescue and relief efforts as needed."
   From the EU Headquarters in Brussels, the European Commission has released an initial 1.5 million euros in emergency humanitarian assistance.
        "We are acting fast to channel emergency aid to those most affected in Indonesia. Our funding will assist the most vulnerable and help provide essential supplies, such as food, shelter, water and sanitation, and medical supplies. This is EU solidarity in action. Our thoughts are with all the victims and first responders working round-the-clock to save lives," Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides stated.
        In addition, the Commission is deploying a humanitarian expert to the area to help coordinate the EU's relief efforts, and it has activated the EU's emergency Copernicus satellite mapping service.
        The Commission's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is closely monitoring developments and stands ready to channel further support as required.
        From Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was in direct contact with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on October 1, 2018.
        "On behalf of myself and all people of Saudi Arabia, we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims and families of those affected," King Salman stated.
        "I am shocked to learn of the strong earthquake and tsunami that struck the province of Central Sulawesi and saddened by the heavy loss of lives and devastation," according to a condolence message sent to President Jokowi on Sept 30 by Chinese President Xi Jinping. 
   He said China stands ready to provide disaster relief assistance in accordance with the needs of the Indonesian side. President Jinping believes that under the strong leadership of President Jokowi and the Indonesian government, Indonesians will certainly overcome this disaster and soon rebuild their homes.
        To facilitate the disaster relief efforts, the Red Cross Society of China has decided to donate US$200 thousand worth of humanitarian aid in cash transfer to the Indonesian Red Cross.
        From Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his condolences and sympathy in a letter to Jokowi. The South Korean Government has pledged to provide relief assistance amounting to US$1 billion for Indonesia.        
   From Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan was ready to help deal with the impact of the earthquake and tsunami disasters.
        Abe also sent a condolence message and expressed sympathy to President Jokowi over the natural disasters.
        "Japan will always be on the Indonesian side in overcoming major difficulties such as this one," Abe remarked in his letter.
        The Japanese government expressed readiness to provide assistance to its Indonesian counterpart in any form to deal with the impact of the earthquake.
        From Washington D.C., Heather Nauert, the US Department spokesperson, noted on Sept 30 that the United States conveyed its condolences and support to all those affected by the disaster.
        "The United States and Indonesia are strategic partners and friends, and we stand ready to assist in the relief effort," she said.
        President Donald Trump informed reporters at a Rose Garden press conference that he had dispatched first responders, military personnel, and others to help in the aftermath of the disaster, which he called "a really bad, bad situation."
   Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter 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."
   Cayetano, who was in New York City for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, stated that the Philippines "is ready to respond and extend assistance to Indonesia."
   The Singapore government offered its condolences to Indonesia on Sept 29. 
   "On behalf of the people of Singapore, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families affected by the earthquakes and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on September 28, 2018," President Halimah Yacob stated in a letter to her Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo.
        "Singapore stands ready to render any assistance to support Indonesia's ongoing relief efforts," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated in a letter sent to Jokowi.  
   From New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he condoled the deaths caused by the natural disasters.
        "Deeply saddened by the loss of lives and devastation due to the tsunami and earthquake in Central Sulawesi in Indonesia. I offer deepest condolences. India stands with its maritime neighbor in this difficult hour," Modi noted.
        From Kuwait, Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences to President Jokowi in which he expressed sincere grief to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
        The Amir hoped for the speedy recovery of those injured in the disasters and expressed support to Palu's people to overcome such tragedies.
        "Russia shares in the grief of the Indonesian people," President Vladimir Putin stated in a message of condolence sent from Moscow to Indonesian President Jokowi.
        President Putin expressed his sympathy and support to the families and relatives of the victims and hoped for the swift recovery of the injured victims, the Russian embassy in Jakarta noted in a statement on Sept 29.
        From neighboring Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government stands ready to provide assistance if it is requested but Indonesia had yet to ask.
        "Australia stands ready to assist as is needed. However, I think it is important that all of our empathy and thoughts are with them in what must be a most horrific time for them. The foreign minister is working closely with other counterparts in Indonesia to correspond with any assistance that is necessary," Morrison noted.
        From Palestine, Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniya also offered condolences to Indonesia's President Jokowi.
        "We, in Hamas, received the news of the massive earthquake and tsunami that had hit Sulawesi and left hundreds of victims and caused severe damage to the buildings and public properties with great pain and sorrow," Haniya noted in a letter of condolence. 
   Eight foreigners, among others, from South Korea, France, and Belgium are reportedly missing following the Central Sulawesi quake and tsunami.
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