The ambassadors of several European nations visited Palu in Central Sulawesi this week to inspect a relief operation by the European Union as part of reconstruction efforts following last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami. (Photo courtesy of the EU delegation to Indonesia)

EU Ambassadors Visit Palu, Reaffirm Bloc's Readiness to Support Reconstruction

OCTOBER 19, 2018

Jakarta.  The ambassadors of several European nations visited Palu in Central Sulawesi this week to inspect a relief operation by the European Union as part of reconstruction efforts following last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

"A delegation of European Union heads of mission visited Palu to express solidarity with the affected population and support the Indonesian reconstruction efforts," the EU delegation to Indonesia said in a statement on Friday.

The delegation was comprised of the ambassadors of Austria, Italy, France, Denmark and Germany, as well as the bloc's ambassador to Indonesia, Vincent Guérend.

Total EU aid to the region amounts to more than €18 million ($21 million), according to the statement. There were also appeals in the Netherlands and in Britain, which have raised a combined total of more than €24 million.

The Indonesian government has accepted several offers from EU member states, including water purification systems, power generators, tents and mosquito nets.

Danish Ambassador Rasmus Kristensen noted via Twitter that "a big task lies ahead in terms of reconstruction" after witnessing the scale of destruction in the affected areas. He added that the European Union and Denmark stood ready to help.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), more than 2,100 people have died and 680 people are still missing following the magnitude-7.4 earthquake and tsunami that hit Palu and Donggala on Sept. 28.

The European Union announced in a separate statement on Thursday that it has signed a €10 million financing agreement to support the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) and its disaster management coordinating center, AHA Center.

"The tragic earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are stark reminders for us all that Southeast Asia is one of the world's most disaster-prone regions," it said in the statement.

The support is aimed at fostering regional and international cooperation to improve joint disaster response efforts and sharing of best practices between Asia and Europe, with the implementation of the program scheduled to start early next year.

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