Sat, Jul 19, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Liberia receives aid from private sector

HUMANITARIAN EFFORT Apart from generous cash donations, companies and agencies gave clothes, tents and other basic articles to people in the stricken country

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the private sector from Taiwan and Okinawa yesterday lent a hand to refugees in Liberia by donating tents, sleeping bags, water-proof jackets and used clothes to a charity group in charge of channeling the goods to the conflict-stricken African nation.

The embassy of Liberia yesterday held a donation ceremony at the Tienmu diplomatic quarters, with the private sector in a symbolic move delivering goods into the hands of a representative of the newly founded "Taiwan Liberia Emergency Relief Network."

Esther Torrents, a member of the "Family" missionary group that represents the network, then had the goods delivered to Liberian Ambassador John Cummings before he handed them to Dale Holmgren, a senior member of the Rotary Club of Taipei.

The Rotary Club in Monrovia, Liberia, has vowed to have these materials delivered to those in need of help, Holmgren said.

"They assured us that all of these gifts will be given to needy people," Holmgren said at the ceremony.

"Within the next two to three weeks we'll get these goods to be sent out," he said.

So far, 160 tents, 1,000 waterproof jackets, 500 sleeping bags and used clothes and shoes have been collected from the private sector in Taiwan, according to the embassy.

The financial help amounted to around NT$60,000 from various individuals and agencies, aside from the US$10,000 donated by the Rotary Club of Luchou (蘆洲), Taipei County, which was organized by DPP Legislator Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟).

Half of the US$10,000 has been spent on the purchase of the 160 tents, while the rest of the amount will pay transportation fees, a staffer at the embassy said.

Humanitarian aid also came from Okinawa through the missionary group, sources said.

"Through Esther's cooperation, some of her friends in Okinawa sent an e-mail saying they've got a 40-foot container of used clothes to be sent to Liberia," Holmgren said.

The US Air Force might help with transporting the used clothes from Okinawa to Liberia, he said.

According to Ambassador Cummings, a firm in Taichung has promised to donate three water purifiers to help people cope with sanitary problems in Liberia.

A Baptist Church in Yangmingshan, Huang Lung Engineering Co Ltd as well as Shiann Hann Plastics Manufacturing Co Ltd also contributed to the donation, organizers said.

Aside from representatives from various private agencies involved in the effort, Ambassador of Malawi Eunice Kazembe also attended the ceremony.

Further donations can be made through the Liberian embassy. The contact number is (02) 2875-1212.

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