UN Chief Guter­res Tours Disas­ter-Hit In­done­sia as World Bank Pledges Aid

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United Na­tions Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res has vis­ited the In­done­sian city of Palu to as­sess the im­pact of the earth­quake and tsunami, as the World Bank an­nounced US$5m (FJ$10.80m) in fi­nan­cial aid for re­con­struc­tion, which au­thor­i­ties say could take two years. Mr Guter­res’ visit on Fri­day came as Palu marked the two-week an­niver­sary of the disas­ter with a mass prayer ser­vice at­tended by thou­sands of sur­vivors.

The UN chief and In­done­sian Vice Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla toured one of the worst-hit ar­eas and spoke with sur­vivors be­ing treated at an out­door tent hospi­tal and evac­u­a­tion cen­tre, prais­ing their “re­silience” amid the dev­as­ta­tion. “We are with the peo­ple of In­done­sia and Su­lawesi,” Mr Guter­res said af­ter sur­vey­ing the dev­as­ta­tion at Balaroa, a hard-hit neigh­bour­hood in Palu.

“The UN is with you to sup­port govern­ment-led res­cue and relief ef­forts,” Mr Guter­res posted on his Twit­ter ac­count, ac­com­pa­nied by a pho­to­graph of bro­ken roads and de­stroyed houses.

En­tire vil­lages were sucked into the earth at Balaroa when soil turned to mush un­der the force of the quake.

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