By Francesca Merlo
The number of deaths due to the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated the islands of Lombok and Bali in Indonesia, currently around 105, is still rising along with the casualties and the desperate need for assistance.
Wanry Wabung, in charge of information, protocol and consular affairs at the Indonesian Embassy to the Holy See spoke to Vatican News’ Stefano Leszczynski about the aftermath and the situation as it stands in Indonesia.
Pope Francis’ encouragement
Pope Francis sent a message of condolence on Monday to the people of Indonesia. We asked Wabung what the Pope’s message means to the country and its inhabitants.
Wabung said that the people of Indonesia are humbled by Pope Francis’ message. It has been an encouragement to all assisting parties, from volunteers to national services. He said their spirits have been lifted and they feel supported through the aftermath of this tragedy. He said that through this act, Pope Francis has reflected the great relationship that Indonesia have with the Holy See.
Cry for international aid
Wabung said Indonesia is appealing to the international community for humanitarian aid. He says that President Joko Widodo has asked authorities to help with survivors. With over 13,000 houses destroyed, there is a strong need for basic housing equipment such as tents and mattresses.
The Indonesian Red Cross has also called for International help with blood donations. Wabung said there is a desperate need for blood as the number of casualties rises.