Queen sends message of support to president of Indonesia

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The damage following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia (Rifki/AP)

The Queen has sent a message of support to the president of Indonesia after a powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami rocked the island of Sulawesi.

More than 1,500 people are thought to be dead, missing or injured after the 7.5 magnitude tremor and wave last Friday.

In a short message to Joko Widodo, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh sent their “sincere condolences to all those affected by the disaster”.

The Queen said: “I was extremely sorry to hear about the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi at the end of last week, particularly given these events happened so soon after the recent earthquake in Lombok.”

Thousands of people have been left homeless and in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the earthquake and wave, which slammed into the coastal city of Palu.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that British military experts and a transportation aircraft would be sent to help in the relief effort.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson agreed to deploy an RAF A400M aircraft stationed in the Middle East and a small team of UK military experts to assist with the aid mission.

He said: “Britain stands united with Indonesia as they recover from this devastating tragedy.”

An RAF transport aircraft and her crew will provide vital supplies to those who are in need.

“This shows that once again Britain and her allies across the globe can depend on us to provide support and assistance no matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter the problem.”

It comes as a volcano on the same island, Mount Soputan, spewed a massive column of ash more than 19,700ft (6,000m) into the sky on Wednesday.

No evacuations were immediately ordered, and an Indonesian government volcanologist said it is possible the eruption was accelerated by the earthquake last week.

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