Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - Page 2 News List

MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: Thousands volunteer, more needed

CRYING OUT FOR CARS Local governments said they needed more people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to deliver goods to villages that are difficult to reach

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thousands of volunteers from all walks of life continued to flock to donation centers in southern Taiwan yesterday seeking to offer to help with relief work.

More help is needed, however, local governments said yesterday.

Hundreds of volunteers gathered outside the Tainan County Government building for a third day to help collect, separate and distribute donated goods to flood victims.

Seventy-three-year-old Chiu Hsing-kuei (邱新桂) said she felt compelled to help because she was once a recipient of others’ kindness when her house collapsed during the 921 Earthquake in 1999.

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said the flooding in the county was subsiding gradually. Many roads have been cleared and were now accessible and running water had also been made available to many residents, he said, adding that currently the county has received enough goods, but is still in dire need of more volunteers with four-wheel-drive vehicles to transport the goods into affected areas and to township halls.

More than 600 volunteers showed up outside the Kaohsiung City Government building to organize the donated goods, ranging from clothes, water, instant noodles, flashlights, bedding, medical supplies and household cleaning items.

At least 200 volunteers were also sent to badly battered areas, such as Liukeui Township (六龜鄉), to deliver food and supplies, Kaoshiung City Social Affairs Bureau Deputy Director Huang Chao-huan (黃招換) said.

Thousands of volunteers also joined the clean-up effort by sweeping the muddy streets of Chishan Township. Huang said more volunteers and drivers with high-capacity vehicles were still needed.

Local non-governmental organizations, such as the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation, dispatched more than 1,500 workers to provide 200,000 hot meals and blankets to flood victims.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also mobilized teams to help in the clean-up process.

Many Internet users from social networking sites, such as Plurk and the Bulletin Board System, have also organized their own teams of volunteers.

Some of the volunteers, however, said although they were eager to help, much of their time was spent standing around.

A 17-year-old high school student from Taichung City nicknamed Mountain (小山), who traveled to Tainan County with the intent to help, described the volunteer scene as “chaotic” and said more direction was needed so as to maximize the effort.

The DPP, World Vision and the Red Cross said volunteers can go to their Web sites to find ways to help with the clean-up effort.

Currently, donation centers in Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Tainan, Nantou and Chiayi are requesting more cleaning supplies, such as disinfectant and antiseptic.

Animal Rescue Team Taiwan said it had collected enough dog and cat food and medical supplies for kennels that need a helping hand.

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