More than $32,000 raised for Lombok earthquake victims by religious bodies

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman (centre) and representatives of various religious communities holding a silent prayer session for those affected by recent earthquakes in Lombok, Indonesia, at the Inter-Religious Organisation's office on Aug 19, 2018. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - Members of various religious communities here have banded together to raise more than $32,000 for victims of the recent earthquakes in Lombok, Indonesia.

On Sunday (Aug 19), a cheque for $32,500 was presented to Indonesian Ambassador I Gede Ngurah Swajaya by Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman, on behalf of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO).

The event was held at the IRO's office at the Ministry of National Development building in Maxwell Road, attended by representatives of the various religious communities, including Catholics, Buddhists and Baha'i.

Since July 29, the Indonesian island of Lombok has been hit by a series of earthquakes that left more than 430 people dead, 1,300 injured and nearly 353,000 displaced.

On Sunday, the island was hit by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, though there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

A prayer session, led by Baalwie Mosque imam Habib Hassan Al-Attas, was also held for the victims of the Lombok earthquakes, as well as those affected by recent floods in the Indian state of Kerala - which killed more than 300 people and left more than 220,000 people homeless - and Tuesday's (Aug 14) bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa, which left at least 38 dead.

Speaking to the media, Mr Habib Hassan, an IRO council member, noted that the aid amount was raised in just three days. He said it was a "religious obligation" for Singapore to help neighbouring countries such as Indonesia in times of crisis.

"If they feel pain, we also feel pain," he said, adding the IRO would observe the situation and raise more money if necessary.

Singapore stands ready to assist relief efforts in Indonesia, said Dr Maliki, adding the Republic would send humanitarian aid if necessary.

Dr Maliki said the IRO's contribution showed the spirit of generosity of Singaporeans, adding he was heartened by such a ground-up initiative.

"I hope more will step up to help our brethren in Indonesia," he said.

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