Letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo offers “most sincere condolences” in wake of devastating earthquake and tsunami

Prince Albert II has sent an official missive to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressing his sympathies and support for the Indonesian people in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country last week. Speaking for all of the royal family and, by extension, the whole of the Monegasque people, Prince Albert II conveyed his “great emotion” and “most sincere condolences” to the families of those who were killed in the tragedy.

Last Friday, 28th September 2018, an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 05struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a tsunami with waves more than six metres (20 feet) in height. The coastal city of Palu, home to an estimated 400,000 people, was completely engulfed in the huge tidal wave and the death toll is currently 1,944 people. However, with many homes still buried under the rubble, authorities fear that figure may climb far higher – perhaps in excess of 5,000.

A further 70,000 have been left homeless by the disasters and aid organisations have found their efforts made more difficult by the damage wrought to local infrastructure. Many roads have been blocked, one bridge has been destroyed and the airport has been forced to partially close. Meanwhile, damage to the telecommunications network has made contact between parts of the city incredibly difficult and with more remote regions all but impossible.

In the wake of the disaster, desperate citizens have taken to looting local stores to access much-needed supplies, although humanitarian aid is now beginning to trickle in. The authorities initially turned a blind eye to such criminal activity given the circumstances, but now that aid has arrived they are clamping down on the looters. Meanwhile, trucks transporting the aid are being accompanied by armed guards to deter further violence.

Cognisant of the seriousness of the situation, Prince Albert II has extended the “full support” of Monaco to the Indonesian President. It’s not the first time that he has penned such a missive to his Indonesian counterpart, having done so in the wake of the earthquakes which shook the Indonesian isle of Lombok last August, killing 500 people and injuring some 1,500 more. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and all the people who lost their homes on this island devastated by this double natural disaster,” the sovereign said in his letter.