Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Interior ministry warns children at risk after storm

BY Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday that children who were affected by the recent tropical storm still deserve special attention and care.

"Besides the reconstruction of the disaster areas that the government is focusing on right now, spiritual healing cannot be overlooked, as crisis or unemployment may result in stress and domestic violence," said Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).

The MOI's Children's Bureau has requested city and county governments of regions that have been affected by the typhoon to report any children who have lost one or both parents as a result of the storm.

The bureau said that in Yilan County, the wife and the children of a man who died in a disaster area have been relocated and provided with financial support by the government.

As for the houses that collapsed during large mudslides on July 2, the bureau urged regional governments to join forces with private entities to visit and provide counseling services to the victims.

"This is to prevent negligence of children, emotional abuse or suicides from taking place," a bureau statement said.

Many children's welfare organizations have been also been affected, and the agency said it could subsidize repair costs upon request from such groups.

According to information provided by the ministry, the flooding that took place on July 2 was the most devastating in 40 years. Mudslides took away more than 1,000 homes, while flooding affected 10,000 homes.

Donations to an MOI fund for storm victims have amounted to more than NT$120 million as of Friday.

These donations have been contributed by corporations, individuals and religious and civic groups.

"I am deeply grateful to those who have contributed to the fund. I also would like to restate that money will go to help out the victims, and that all uses of this money will be posted online for the public to track down," Su said.

In order to prevent fraudulent use of donations by non-government entities, the MOI's department of social affairs had requested that the Executive Yuan's Financial Monitoring and Manage-ment Committee and the Ministry of Transportation and Communication monitor the entries for all donations and track down any unauthorized groups raising funds for storm victims.

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