Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOI tries to ensure a happy holiday


The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is launching a series of programs to help those in need over the Lunar New Year holiday.

For a start, it is offering financial aid to families in dire straits during the upcoming Lunar New Year.

"Upon a social worker's assessment, an average of NT$5,000 will be given out to a needy household to help family members to get out of financial difficulties," said Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).

Between Sunday and Feb. 13, the MOI has set aside an emergency helpline: 049-2391-119, to handle cases of special needs. The helpline is available 24 hours a day.

All calls will be transferred to appropriate social welfare organizations or local governments to be taken care of.

According to Su, social workers will respond within 24 hours to a received call and personally visit individuals in need.

"Individuals may especially run into financial problems over the Lunar New Year. Some may have negative thoughts and turn to desperate measures. We hope, by lending a hand, the government may help them," Su said.

Unpredictable events such as traffic accidents and sudden illnesses among family members are examples of urgent situations.

In addition to this special financial assistance, the MOI is providing other social security and welfare services.

The department of social affairs has distributed special allowances ranging from NT$20,000 to NT$50,000 to hundreds of senior homes and centers for the disabled nationwide to enrich meals served over the festival. In total, NT$8 million has been dedicated to this project.

As a humanitarian effort, the same allowance has also been given to Chinglu Detention Centers (靖盧) in Hsinchu and Ilan, which shelter illegal Chinese immigrants who are waiting to be deported.

"The money has been given to them for better meals. However, a line needs to be drawn in this case. If we treat these illegal immigrants too well, then everyone will want to sneak into Taiwan," Su said.

Individuals who need to withdraw large cash amounts from banks for the Lunar New Year may seek escort services from local police forces.

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