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UN Chief Visits Palu as World Bank Announces Financial Aid

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has visited the Indonesian city of Palu to assess the impact of the earthquake and tsunami, as the World Bank announced five million dollars in financial aid for reconstruction, which authorities say could take two years.

Guterres’ visit on Friday came as Palu marked the two-week anniversary of the disaster with a mass prayer service attended by thousands of survivors.

The UN chief and Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla toured one of the worst-hit areas, and spoke with survivors being treated at an outdoor tent hospital and evacuation centre, praising their “resilience” amid the devastation.

“We are with the people of Indonesia and Sulawesi,” Guterres said after surveying the devastation at Balaroa, a hard-hit neighbourhood in Palu.

“The UN is with you to support government-led rescue and relief efforts,” Guterres posted on his Twitter account, accompanied by a photograph of broken roads and destroyed houses.

Entire villages were sucked into the earth at Balaroa when soil turned to mush under the force of the quake.

Guterres is also in Indonesia to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on the island of Bali.

On Friday, the World Bank announced that it would release five million dollars in aid to the disaster-hit region of Indonesia, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva said in an announcement on social media.

“We are committed on giving our support in the form of assistance and rehabilitation,” Georgieva was quoted by Indonesian news website, Tempo as saying, following her visit to Palu.

The Asian Development Bank has also pledged up to one billion dollars in emergency loans.

Source: Al Jazeera News

Photo: Associated Press/Fauzy Chaniago

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