Thu, May 30, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet offers personal care to crash victims' families

By Tsai Ting-i  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet yesterday set up a special group to offer one-on-one services to families of victims of Saturday's China Airlines crash.

The group, established by the Cabinet-level Central Personnel Administration, will help families deal with compensation claims, legal issues, insurance claims, taxes and other problems.

The goal of the group is to provide a single contact person whom families can go to for help, so that they don't get lost in red tape among a myriad of government agencies.

"To prevent victims' relatives from having to run around to different government departments ... we have decided to offer one-on-one services to these relatives," said Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋), director-general of the personnel administration.

Roughly 200 officials from the Cabinet's 15 ministries make up the group, which was formed on the orders of Premier Yu Shyi-kun.

Every official is required to take care of one of more than 200 victims' families.

To prepare the officials for the emotional task ahead, a counseling workshop was held yesterday afternoon.

"I hope you all can be good listeners to these families and help the government communicate its policies to them," Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) said in yesterday's workshop.

Wu Su-hsia (吳素霞), one of the group's members from the Ministry of the Interior, said she would try her best to help the family that she's been assigned.

Wu declined to offer information about the family under her care, but emphasized she would give special attention in helping the family deal with the problems connected to government administrative affairs.

Lee said this was the first time the Cabinet has offered one-on-one services in a disaster. The Cabinet plans to establish a volunteer system to offer similar services in the future.

Still, Lee said he was unsure whether the government could offer one-on-one services for every major disaster in the future.

Meanwhile, counselors warned the government yesterday to avoid offering psychological support to victims' families.

"Psychological support shouldn't be government officials' business -- especially as helping these victims' families get through the psychological difficulties can't be done well even by professionals," said Frank Wang (王增勇), assistant professor of the Institute of Health and Welfare Policy at the National Yang Ming University.

Wang helped provided counseling to victims of the 921 earthquake.

In addition to offering one-on-one help, the Cabinet is providing aid of NT$100,000 to families of the crash victims and is holding memorial services.

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