Singapore, Malaysia and Australia ready to help relief efforts

President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday wrote to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to convey their condolences over the deadly tsunami that has struck two provinces.

President Halimah wrote: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of lives, injuries and destruction. The people of Singapore stand in solidarity with those affected by this tragedy."

PM Lee said in his letter that "Singapore stands ready to support the ongoing relief efforts, if required by Indonesia".

He also extended his deepest condolences, and added: "I am confident that the people of Indonesia will overcome this disaster with strength and solidarity."

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Australia also offered to extend their assistance to Indonesia.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that she was "saddened to hear the news of the tsunami disaster", the national news agency Bernama reported.

"I pray Indonesians will remain strong in facing this test. Malaysia is ready to extend assistance to alleviate the burden of our brothers and sisters in Indonesia," she told President Joko in a post on Twitter.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the disaster was a "terrible blow for Indonesia", reported the Sydney Morning Herald. "This comes on top of what happened in Sulawesi and so, as always, we are available to support the Indonesian government with these things, as requested," he was quoted as saying.

 
 
 
 

He offered his country's help, but said that so far, there had been no requests for assistance.

He added that no Australians had been affected. "We understand that at present there are no foreigners, let alone Australians, who have been impacted by this (disaster)."

Saturday's tsunami was the latest in a series of tragedies that have struck Indonesia, a vast archipelago, this year.

Successive earthquakes flattened parts of the tourist island of Lombok in August, while a double quake-and-tsunami killed thousands on Sulawesi Island in September.

Nearly 200 people died when a Lion Air passenger plane crashed into the Java Sea in October.

On Dec 26 in 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake killed 220,000 people in 13 countries, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore, Malaysia and Australia ready to help relief efforts'. Print Edition | Subscribe