PH ready to assist Indonesia over deadly quake, tsunami

MANILA — The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on Saturday expressed readiness to respond and assist Indonesia after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck Central Sulawasi, killing almost 400 on Friday.

At the same time, the agency extended condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.

“We grieve with our Indonesian brothers and sisters and stand hand in hand with them in praying for all of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said from New York, where he is attending the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee said the magnitude 7.4 earthquake and tsunami struck the provincial capital of Palu and the neighboring city of Donggala.

The Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) placed the initial death toll at 384 people with more than 500 injured. At least 29 are still missing.

Wee said the only Filipino in the area — a detainee serving his sentence at the Lapas Penitentiary — was confirmed safe. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/