ROME – Pope Francis donated to recovery efforts in Indonesia after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the Sulawesi coast, leaving at least 1,400 people dead.
The pope sent $100,000 in recovery aid through the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Oct. 4 to assist with the first phase of emergency rescue and medical aid.
The 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi on the evening of Sept. 28, causing a tsunami with 20 foot-high waves to hit the coastal city of Palu, which continues to be affected by landslides.
Nearly one week after the disaster, many people remain missing or injured, and tens of thousands of Indonesians have been displaced from their homes.
Among the missing are 52 Catholic and Protestant high school students who were attending a weekend retreat when the earthquake caused the church to collapse, reported ucanews.com on Oct. 3. Thirty-four of their classmates’ bodies were found among the rubble of the church earlier this week.
Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Italy, and Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund have also provided relief funds and teams to address Indonesia’s emergency situation.
“The images coming out of Palu are horrifying and bring back memories of the devastation caused by the region’s 2004 earthquake and tsunami,” said Yenni Suryani, Catholic Relief Services’ country manager in Indonesia.
“The streets are ruined and there’s no water or sanitation facilities for people gathered in shelters. Most families only have one tarp and one mat. It’s extremely hot and most people are sitting under tarps, just waiting,” described CRS staff member Fatwa Fadillah on Oct. 3.
Francis also offered a public prayer for the people of Indonesia during his Angelus address on Sept. 30, praying for “the deceased, unfortunately numerous, for the injured and for those who have lost their homes and their jobs.”
“May the Lord console them and support the efforts of those who are trying to bring help,” he said.