Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Iraqis will get lots of aid: `with love from Taiwan'

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER IN TAOYUAN

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien, center, yesterday takes pictures with representatives from 19 local NGOs during a charity event aimed at helping the Iraqi people. The ceremony was held at a warehouse in Taoyuan County.

PHOTO: LEE HSIN-HUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan's promise to offer humanitarian aid to Iraq was further realized yesterday when a huge aid package was prepared for its journey to Baghdad.

The 1,600-tonne package of aid materials collected over one month included water, powdered milk, tents and blankets, sugar, salt, clothing, disposable diapers, medicine and candies. There was also one ambulance.

"We hope the Iraqi people can soon feel the warmth from Taiwan," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) during a ceremony at a warehouse in Taoyuan county.

The value of donations collected from the public and various NGOs has reached NT$32.5 million in total, the foreign ministry said.

These donations would become part of the Community Action Program (CAP) masterminded by the Mercy Corps, a US-based NGO, in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq, said Chien.

Taiwan's NGOs planned to dispatch pertinent personnel to Iraq to take part in the scheme that has targeted 50 sites in Iraq to help with fundamental reconstruction of the country, the ministry said in a press release.

A Japanese group called the Japanese Peace Wing has also joined the community-building scheme supported by USAID, said Jeffrey Hsiao (蕭勝中), section chief at the ministry's NGO affairs committee.

Chien also expressed the government's gratitude to the Mercy Corps, as the group's Hong Kong office has donated 1,000 surgical masks to Taiwan in an effort to help combat the spread of SARS.

Taiwan has in the past worked with the Mercy Corps in offering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

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