Taipei, Taiwan will soon provide assistance to Indonesia to help it recover from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that has left scores dead in the popular tourist destination of Lombok, a government spokesperson said Tuesday.
The strong earthquake struck Lombok on Sunday evening, killing at least 98 people according to official figures and shaking neighboring Bali.
In the wake of the tragedy, President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said on Twitter on Monday: "My thoughts are with the victims of the deadly earthquake in Lombok, #Indonesia. #Taiwan stands ready to help our Indonesian friends at this difficult time."
Asked to comment on how exactly Taiwan will help, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (???) said nothing has been decided yet.
"We are currently in active discussions with our Indonesian counterparts to understand their needs," he said.
The government will work with the private sector to make sure Taiwan's donation will be of immediate and direct help to victims of the quake, said Lee, who expected the exact amount of the donation and other details to be announced soon.
During an interview with CNA Monday, Indonesian special envoy to Taiwan, Ang Tjoen Ming (???), hoped Taiwan could donate US$250,000 to help quake victims build 100 houses following the Sunday quake that damaged or destroyed many buildings in Lombok.
Lee said, meanwhile, that Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia established contact with 15 Taiwanese tourists who were in Lombok during the earthquake, and they were all confirmed to be safe.
Twelve of the 15 were scheduled to return to Taiwan later Tuesday and Wednesday, while the rest of them had not decided when to return, Lee noted.
The office also established contact with a number of Taiwanese tourists traveling in the Gili Islands near Lombok following Sunday's quake and found them to be safe before losing contact with them due to a blackout, Lee said.
According to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, there were three to four people on those islands.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel