Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Environmental team leaves on tsunami aid trip


A three-member team from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) departed Taipei yesterday for the earthquake and tsunami-hit area of Medan, Indonesia, to help bolster post-disaster disinfection work.

The team is bringing a number of automatic disinfectant dispensers to Medan and will look into how efficiently the Indonesian authorities have been using 100 semi-automatic sprayers and 50kg condenser disinfectants that Taiwan sent there last week, the team's leader, Yuan Shao-ying (袁紹英), vice director-general of the EPA's Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management, said at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport.

An additional 200 dispensers are ready to be sent if they are needed, Yuan said.

The EPA is also planning additional assistance of NT$30 million (US$937,500) to provide sprayers, pesticides, disinfectants and protective gear, he said.

Yuan's team members are Chang Chih-ying (張志應), a disinfection professional, and Lin Hsi-chin (林錫金), an official with the Taipei City Government's Environmental Protection Bureau in charge of disinfection affairs.

Taiwan has continued to send cash aid, medical supplies and relief goods to Indonesia since Dec. 26, even though the Indonesian government turned down Taiwan's request to take part in an international conference held in Jakarta Jan. 6 to coordinate relief efforts for the tsunami-hit nations around the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia was the hardest-hit nation in the Dec. 26 magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the western city of Banda Aceh and the ensuing tsunami. More than half of the estimated 150,000 people around the Indian Ocean that were killed in the devastation were in Indonesia. The tsunami also caused unprecedented damage in many other countries in the region.

Taiwan, which has promised US$50 million in aid to the disaster-hit nations, is the world's eighth-largest single donor thus far.

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