Sat, Nov 15, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Government aids quake refugees in Russian Federation

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the non-profit Taiwan-Russia Association jointly donated US$10,000 yesterday to help earthquake refugees in the Russian Federation's Republic of Altai.

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Hwang (黃瀧元) presided over the donation ceremony, with George Zinoviev, deputy director of the Moscow-Taipei Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission, receiving the aid on behalf of the Russian authorities.

Pointing out that Taiwan and Russia have assisted each other on various occasions in response to natural disasters, Hwang expressed his deep concern that the earthquake-stricken refugees in Altai will be able to rebuild their homeland as quickly as possible.

Zinoviev thanked the government for its contribution and hailed it as a humanitarian move that helps forge an enhanced and substantial relationship between the two nations.

Altai was rocked by a series of tremors in late September and early last month that measured eight and nine on the Richter scale, leaving more than 7,000 people homeless and causing damage estimated at more than US$30 million.

The government also donated US$16,000 to the families of people taken hostage and murdered by a group of Chechen separatists at a Moscow theater in October last year, as well as US$200,000 to the families of the 118 seamen killed when the Kursk submarine sank in 2000.

In 1999, Russia dispatched a group of 83 professional search-and-rescue personnel to help in the search for survivors of the 921 earthquake.

Various Russian coastal provinces also donated more than 3,000 cubic meters of high-quality timber to help the post-921 reconstruction efforts.

The Taiwan-Russia Association was set up in July last year to help promote trade and exchanges of technology, education, culture and tourism between the two countries.

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