Fri, May 16, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma proposes adoption of earthquake disaster zones

GRIM EXPERIENCE The president-elect said that Taiwan's experience in dealing with the 921 Earthquake gave it the ability to help in Sichuan

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

President-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) proposed yesterday to "adopt" certain disaster zones that suffered during Monday's devastating earthquake in China and take responsibility for helping survivors and reconstruction.

Ma’s spokesman, Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), said that the president-elect discussed relief work with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), and agreed that Taiwan should help with the reconstruction of disaster zones after Ma assumes office on Tuesday.

On Wednesday KMT spokeswoman Chen Shu-jung (陳淑蓉) said that Ma had expressed a desire to help.

She citied his experience in assisting in a similar situation after the 921 earthquake caused serious damage in Taiwan’s central regions in 1999.

Ma was quoted by Chen as saying that he would immediately ask relevant government agencies to effectively explore how to provide aid to Sichuan’s disaster areas and to help in the rehabilitation of local residents after he takes power next week.

Wang yesterday added, however, that the plan is still on the drawing board, and that Ma will brief the public after concrete measures have been mapped out.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press yesterday, Ma said that the earthquake provides a good opportunity for Taiwan to help China.

Ma said that Taiwan’s experience in dealing with the 921 Earthquake gives it the ability to help China recover from the 7.9 magnitude temblor that devastated large parts of Sichuan Province on Monday.

“Taiwan is in a unique position to offer help,” Ma said.

“The earthquake provides a good opportunity for the two sides to work together,” the president-elect said.

Ma said that he had personally contributed US$6,000 to the Red Cross to help survivors.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AP

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