By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis has issued an appeal to the international community to support the victims of a devastating tsunami in Indonesia.
The tsunami which struck during the night is believed to have been triggered by a volcanic eruption and the death toll is climbing by the hour with hundreds of people injured and scores missing. It is feared the numbers of victims will continue to rise as not all affected areas have been reached.
Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said his thoughts are with the people of Indonesia “who have been struck by a series of violent natural disasters, which have caused many deaths, many missing people, much displacement and considerable material damage”.
He invited everyone to join in praying for the victims and for their loved ones and expressed his spiritual closeness to those who are affected by the tragedy saying that he implores God’s consolation in their suffering.
“My appeal is that these brothers and sisters may not lack our solidarity and the support of the International Community” he said.
According to Indonesia's disaster management agency the death toll is currently at 222 people dead with 843 injured and 28 missing.
The volcano that erupted Saturday night lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami which could reportedly have been caused by undersea landslides or those occurring above sea level on the volcano's steep outside slope following the eruption.