By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis is sending an initial contribution to the relief operations for the people hit by the devastating tsunami a week ago in Indonesia, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said in a brief on Saturday.
A tsunami caused by the collapse of part of the volcanic Anak Krakatau island killed at least 426 people when waves of up to 5 metres smashed into the coastal areas of Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra on December 22. Indonesia’s disaster agency said 23 are missing and more than 40,000 have been displaced. Some 1,500 have been injured.
The Pope’s contribution will be channelled through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“The contribution accompanies the Holy Father's prayer in favour of the beloved Indonesian population, and is part of the aid that is being activated throughout the charitable network of the Catholic Church,” the Dicastery said.
“The sum will be defined in the coming days and is intended to be an immediate expression of the feeling of spiritual closeness and paternal encouragement on the part of the Holy Father,” it added.
Authorities have warned Sunda Strait residents to stay a kilometre away from the coastline, citing the potential for another tsunami.