By Robin Gomes
South Korean Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, on Tuesday expressed the condolence and closeness of his faithful for the dead and survivors of Indonesia’s natural disaster in Central Sulawesi province.
A 7.4 magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami it triggered hit the western coastal region of the province on Friday, killing 1,407 people as of Wednesday, according to Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). The agency said the death toll is likely to increase as rescue teams reach out to remote areas. Thousands are injured and more than 70,000 are displaced.
Condolences and prayer
“I am deeply saddened by the news that so many were deceased, injured, and affected by the deadly earthquake and tsunami which struck Indonesian Island of Sulawesi,” wrote Cardinal Yeom in a message to the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI).
He said he was praying for the “eternal rest on the deceased and God’s consolation and blessing for those who suddenly lost their beloved family.” “I, as well as all priests and faithful in Archdiocese of Seoul will pray for all people of Indonesia to get over the tragic disaster and get back to the daily life as soon as possible,” he wrote.
Cardinal Yeom hoped that “the victims can promptly receive necessary supports and aids,” and prayed that God’s mercy may save all those suffering from the disaster from “unimaginable grief and pain”.
As a token of the Archdiocese’s closeness for the affected people, the Cardinal has donated a sum of $ $50,000 in emergency relief funds to the Indonesian Church’s relief efforts for the survivors. The “One Body One Spirit” (OBOS) movement of Seoul Archdiocese will channel the fund through Caritas Internationalis.
OBOS has already been raising funds in support of the Indonesian Church’s efforts in the Island of Lombok that was hit by an earthquake in July. The Archdiocese said funds collected in each parish are also being sent to the Indonesian Church.
New volcano eruption
As aid was trickling into the areas hit by the twin disasters, a volcano, about 940 kilometers further north in the same island, erupted on Wednesday.
Mount Soputan, located in the Southeast Minahasa District of North Sulawesi province, erupted spitting a plume of ash and smoke more than 6,000 meters into the sky.
No evacuations were immediately ordered. A standby status was issued regarding the volcano, meaning the public should avoid the area nearest the volcano and have masks available in the event of ash fall.