Fri, Dec 25, 2009 - Page 1 News List

CROSS STRAIT TALKS: Chinese envoy visits Morakot disaster areas

DONATIONS ARATS said that it received NT$450 million in donations from people in China, NT$300 million of which it will turn over to the SEF next week

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) yesterday visited a village in Nantou County that was hard-hit by Typhoon Morakot, but no victims were invited to share their experience with him, while protesters were blocked by police.

Morakot slammed southern Taiwan in August, claiming at least 700 lives and causing the nation’s worst flooding in 50 years. Prior to his arrival in Taichung on Monday, Chen had said he hoped to visit areas affected by the typhoon.

Nantou County Commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday arranged for Chen to visit Hsinshan Village (新山村), where 17 of 30 houses were flooded by the Chenyoulan River during the typhoon.

Chen said he hoped Lee would “express our goodwill to the areas hit by Typhoon Morakot” after listening to a briefing on the village’s reconstruction process.

“I feel sad that this natural ­disaster caused such serious damage, but on the other hand, I am impressed by the effectiveness of the government agencies in disaster relief and reconstruction work,” Chen said.

ARATS said it received NT$450 million (US$13 million) in donations from people in China, adding it had given NT$150 million to the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and would wire the remaining NT$300 million next week.

SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said ARATS had expressed its concern about the disaster immediately after the typhoon, adding that the SEF would make good use of the

donations from China to help victims rebuild.

Chiang said the SEF had planned to arrange a visit to hard-hit areas in southern Taiwan, but did not do so “because of time constraints.”

Severely affected areas in southern Taiwan such as Tainan and Kaohsiung counties are mostly governed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Chen left Hsinshan for a lunch banquet at Sun Moon Lake after speaking to the media. He declined to comment on an incident on Wednesday night, in which a police officer was injured after falling from a truck as he tried to stop protesters from shooting fireworks at the hotel where Chen was staying.

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