Pope Francis expressed his ““heartfelt solidarity” and prayers for the people of Indonesia following a strong earthquake that killed at least 56 people.
In a telegram sent to Indonesia, the pope said “he is praying for the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve.”
Pope Francis said he is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and of the destruction caused by the violent earthquake that has struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The pope assured the apostolic nuncio in Indonesia and local authorities of his prayers and encouragement to all those involved in the continuing search and rescue efforts.
At least 56 people have been killed after an earthquake struck Indonesia’s West Sulawesi province on Friday, January 15, the latest in a string of disasters to hit the Southeast Asian country.
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake, said Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency BNPB.
Some people sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centers, witnesses said.
Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia’s meteorological, climatology and geophysical agency, has said that another quake in the region could potentially trigger a tsunami.
Straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is regularly hit by earthquakes.
In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck the city of Palu, in Sulawesi, killing thousands.
Just two weeks into the new year, the world’s fourth-most populous country is again battling several disasters.
Floods in North Sulawesi and South Kalimantan province each have killed at least five this month, while landslides in West Java province have killed at least 28, authorities said.
On January 9, a Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the Java Sea with 62 onboard.
East Java’s Semeru mountain erupted late on Saturday, January 16, but there have been no reports of casualties or evacuations. – with a report from Reuters