Taiwan ready to help Indonesia with tsunami relief

Debris littered a property badly damaged by a tsunami in Carita, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. The tsunami occurred after the eruption of a volcano around Indonesia's Sunda Strait during a busy holiday weekend, sending water crashing ashore and sweeping away hotels, hundreds of houses and people attending a beach concert. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s government expressed its willingness on Dec. 23 to provide every possible assistance to Indonesia in the wake of a tsunami that struck coastal areas throughout the Sunda Strait Saturday night, leaving at least 40 dead and 600 injured.

Eight Taiwanese tourists, two of whom have been seriously injured, are among those currently stranded in a mountainous area of Indonesia, a charity group formed by locally-based Taiwanese businesses has confirmed.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed concern about the situation and said the government is prepared to help those affected in whatever way it can, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said Sunday.

Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said the ministry is ready to deploy a C-130 transport plane to help with disaster relief work.

Baushuan Ger (葛葆萱), head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA’s) Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, on Sunday called Indonesian Representative Didi Sumedi to extend Taiwan’s condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims of the tsunami, the ministry said in a statement.

Two of the adults in the eight-member Taiwanese group were badly injured by falling objects as they fled the tsunami and received treatment at a local clinic, according to the charity group.

Taiwan’s representative office in Indonesia is working with locally-based Taiwanese business groups to arrange transportation for the group and to determine whether there are other Taiwanese nationals in need of assistance, the MOFA said.

The deadly tsunami was triggered by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, according to foreign media reports.

By Yu Kai-shiang and Shih Hsiu-chuan