The Presidential Office yesterday announced that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has offered the nation's help to a seven-year-old Turkish girl who is too poor to receive medical treatment.
The girl, who is afraid to leave her house because of a tumor on her nose, reportedly has no friends and had lived in deplorable conditions since she was born.
Some international wire services publicized the girl's tragic story last week.
"Her father is only a farm worker, who gets paid on a daily basis and he doesn't have enough money to afford medical attention for his daughter," the deputy secretary-general to the president, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), said yesterday.
According to Wu, the president had learned of the girl's tragic story on Friday and immediately told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tell its office in Turkey to communicate Taiwan's willingness to provide medical assistance to the girl.
"On Tuesday, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported to the Presidential Office and said that the girl had been sent to a hospital in Istanbul for a surgical operation, but her parents still don't have enough money to travel to the city in order to comfort their daughter," Wu said.
"President Chen then told the ministry to give the parents US$1,000 for traveling expenses," Wu said.
He said that the case shows Chen's tight control over Tai-wan's foreign affairs and also shows that Taiwan is sincere about contributing to the international community.