Quake-hit Indonesia seeks foreign aid

Indonesia’s President formally invited foreign donors to contribute to rescue and recovery efforts on the quake-and-tsunami-struck-island of Sulawesi on Monday, but his government was at pains to stress the situation was under control. “The President has decided to accept aid from abroad,” said Army General-turned-Minister Wiranto. Giving a less than full-throated welcome to offers of help — even as the UN warned that 1,91,000 people were in urgent need — General Wiranto explained President Joko Widodo’s acceptance in almost apologetic terms. “There are a lot of offers from other countries to help the disaster in Palu, of course, we appreciate the requests,” he said, citing the need to keep up good bilateral relations with many countries. “Another consideration is that Indonesia has also often contributed and given aid,” he said. “Helping each other is an international tradition which we need to appreciate.” Offers of help Around 18 countries and scores of non-governmental aid groups have offered to help in the four days since the quake and tsunami that killed hundreds, but they have not been able to until now. Many in the humanitarian sector have privately expressed frustration about sitting on the sidelines, as residents of Sulawesi turn to looting for water, food or petrol and many remain trapped in the rubble due to lack of heavy machinery for rescue. Meanwhile, Indonesian volunteers at Pobaya began to fill a vast grave with the dead, with instructions to prepare for 1,300 victims to be laid to rest. A massive 7.5 magnitude tremor on Friday had sent monster waves barrelling into the island of Sulawesi, leaving at least 844 dead.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/quake-hit-indonesia-seeks-foreign-aid/article25100876.ece

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