– Catholic Herald, Rome – Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing his prayerful solidarity with the people of Indonesia, suffering in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that struck Friday, leaving scores of people dead and hundreds of others injured.
The quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Friday, about 3.7miles (6km) northeast of Majene, a coastal city with a population of just over 60 thousand people.
At least 67 people are confirmed dead, though first responders say they expect the death toll to rise. More than 600 injuries have been reported in Majene, and more than 15 thousand people have been left without homes. More than half of the confirmed dead were in Mamuju, north of the epicentre.
Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this natural disaster.
Addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio in Indonesia, Archbishop Piero Pioppo, and signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the telegram says Pope Francis was “saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of property caused by the violent earthquake in Indonesia,” and “expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this natural disaster.”
“He prays for the repose of the deceased,” the message goes on to say, “the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve.” Pope Francis also offers special and particular encouragement to civil authorities, “and those involved in the continuing search and rescue efforts.”
He prays for the repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and the consolation of all who grieve.
The telegram concludes with a promise that Pope Francis “willingly invokes the divine blessings of strength and hope” upon all affected by the disaster.
In a particular way, he offers encouragement to the civil authorities and those involved in the continuing search and rescue efforts.
Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, expressed his own condolences to the victims via video statement, in which he appealed for calm and urged local authorities to intensify rescue and recovery efforts.
A spokesman for the provincial government identified the restoration of telecommunications and bridge links as key tasks, along with delivery of emergency supplies including tents, food, medicine and first aid essentials.