SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday (Apr 7) sent condolences to his counterparts in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, after landslides and floods devastated both countries.
Tropical cyclone Seroja pounded Indonesia and Timor-Leste on Monday after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 113 people and left dozens more missing.
In his letter to Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Dr Balakrishnan said he was “saddened to hear about the tragic loss of lives and devastation” caused by the floods and landslides in East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara in the last week.
“Please accept my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and all Indonesians whose livelihoods have been affected by these devastating disasters,” he wrote.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Indonesia during this difficult time. Your government is swiftly undertaking relief and rescue efforts, and I am confident that the Indonesian people will overcome this crisis with strength and fortitude.”
Dr Balakrishnan expressed similar sentiments in his letter to Timor-Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno.
“Please accept my deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and all Timorese affected by the floods. Our thoughts are with the Timorese people during this difficult time,” he said. “I am confident that Timor-Leste will overcome this disaster with strength.”
He added that the Singapore Government will contribute US$50,000 through the Singapore Red Cross to support Timor-Leste in its relief and recovery efforts.
In a press release later on Thursday, the Singapore Red Cross said it is committing US$25,000, on top of the Government’s contribution, for the purchase of “urgently needed relief items, such as family kits, food packages, tarpaulins and personal protective equipment (for responders)”.
About 10,000 people have been forced to flee to shelters in both nations, amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Some villages have been swept down and destroyed.
In Indonesia and Timor-Leste, search and rescue workers are racing to find dozens of people who are still missing.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Singaporeans in affected areas should monitor the local news closely and heed the instructions of local authorities.
“Singaporeans are also advised to stay in touch with your family and friends so that they know you are safe. Singaporeans in need of consular assistance may contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office,” said MFA.
Singaporeans in Indonesia can also contact the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta.