Xi sends con­do­lences as tsunami toll tops 800 in Indonesia

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By CHINA DAILY

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping sent con­do­lences to his In­done­sian coun­ter­part Joko Wi­dodo on Sun­day over the ca­su­al­ties caused by a ma­jor earth­quake and an en­su­ing tsunami that dev­as­tated Indonesia’s cen­tral Su­lawesi prov­ince.

In his mes­sage, Xi said he was shocked to learn that the strong tem­blors and tsunami caused such a great loss of life and prop­erty.

The death toll hit 832 on Sun­day, as stunned vic­tims in Su­lawesi strug­gled to find food and wa­ter.

On be­half of the govern­ment and peo­ple of China and him­self, Xi ex­tended sin­cere con­do­lences to the vic­tims and sym­pa­thies to their fam­i­lies, the wounded and peo­ple in disas­ter-af­fected ar­eas.

Call­ing Indonesia a friendly neigh­bor, Xi said China shares the feel­ings of the In­done­sian peo­ple and stands ready to pro­vide as­sis­tance ac­cord­ing to the needs of Indonesia.

In­done­sian Vice-Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla said the fi­nal num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties could be in the “thou­sands”.

Nearly 540 peo­ple were se­ri­ously in­jured and 16,732 peo­ple were forced to flee their homes, said Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho, a spokesman for the disas­ter agency, adding that most of the deaths were re­ported in Palu, the provin­cial cap­i­tal, and the ad­join­ing Dong­gala dis­trict, with 821 and 11, re­spec­tively.

“To­day we will start the mass burial of vic­tims to avoid the spread of disease,” he said.

Indonesia’s Metro TV on Sun­day broad­cast footage from a coastal com­mu­nity in Dong­gala, where some wa­ter­front homes ap­peared crushed.

In Palu on Sun­day, aid was trick­ling in and the In­done­sian mil­i­tary has been de­ployed while search-an­dres­cue work­ers were comb­ing the rub­ble for sur­vivors, look­ing for as many as 150 peo­ple at one up­scale ho­tel alone.

“What we now des­per­ately need is heavy ma­chin­ery to clear the rub­ble. I have my staff on the ground, but it’s im­pos­si­ble just to rely on their strength alone to clear this,” said Muham­mad Syaugi, head of the search and res­cue agency.

A Face­book page was cre­ated by wor­ried rel­a­tives who posted pic­tures of still-miss­ing fam­ily mem­bers in the hopes of find­ing them alive.

Amid up­rooted trees, over­turned cars and col­lapsed homes, sur­vivors and res­cuers strug­gled to come to grips with the scale of the disas­ter.

On Satur­day evening, res­i­dents fash­ioned makeshift bam­boo shel­ters or slept out­doors, fear­ing af­ter­shocks.

Xin­hua, AFP and AP con­trib­uted to this story.


Res­cuers evac­u­ate a vic­tim from the ru­ins of the Roa-Roa Ho­tel in Palu, Indonesia, on Sun­day.

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