Mon, May 29, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese rescue team dispatched to quake zone

CNA AND AFP , TAIPEI

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang, right, pats a search-and-rescue dog named A-li, a veteran of rescue missions in Iran and other nations, at CKS International Airport yesterday. A-li and a 26-member team left for Indonesia yesterday to help with search-and-rescue efforts.

PHOTO: YAO CHIEH-HSIU, TAIPEI TIMES

A team of rescuers and medical professionals departed for Indonesia yesterday to help victims of a devastating earthquake that struck the island of Java the day before, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday.

The first-aid team is made up of members of the Special Search and Rescue Squad under the National Fire Agency and members of the Taiwan International Health Action (Taiwan IHA) sponsored by the Department of Health, Lu said.

The National Fire Agency said in a statement that "Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has ordered the interior ministry to immediately send a rescue team to Indonesia in the hope of finding any survivors before the so-called 72-hour `golden rescue period' expires."

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake rattled Indonesia's main island of Java at around 6am on Saturday, killing almost 4,000 people and leaving thousands of others injured or homeless.

The Taiwan IHA members, who are taking medicine and medical equipment with them, will help Indonesians set up make-shift clinics in Bantul, ground-zero of the quake, in southern Java.

More doctors and nurses as well as medication will be sent if the Taiwan IHA finds it necessary after assessing the situation, Lu said.

Lu said Taiwan would donate US$100,000 to Indonesia, with the earthquake relief funds to be presented to the Indonesian government via Taiwan's representative office in Jakarta.

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