Thu, Mar 17, 2011 - Page 3 News List

JAPAN DISASTER: Survivors of 921 offer funds and supplies to Japan

Staff Writer, with CNA

Survivors of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that devastated central Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999, are raising funds and donating supplies to help victims of the powerful temblor and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on Friday.

Nantou County Government, the region hardest hit by the 921 quake, encouraged county residents to donate a day’s pay to victims of one of the worst natural disasters in Japan’s history.

Nantou County Commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿), who donated a month’s salary, or NT$150,000, to a special donation account opened by the county government to support Japan’s quake victims, said Nantou’s people received help from around the world when their homes were devastated by an earthquake more than a decade ago.

Nantou residents empathize with people in Japan, Lee said, and he encouraged everyone to make donations.

In addition to the -government-led fundraising event, three high-tech companies based in Nantou — Chip-City Science and Technology Co, Taiwan-Solar Photovoltaic Co and Greendix Electro-Optics Ltd — also donated 500 solar lamps and 500 solar cellphone chargers to Japan.

Given the electricity shortages caused by the natural disaster, practical solar energy products would help meet the needs of Japanese, Lee said.

Meanwhile, Nantou City is planning to send three of the power generators it received from Japan after the 921 quake to disaster areas in the tsunami--ravaged country to help supply electrical power, Nantou City Mayor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said.

Another fundraising event was launched on Tuesday by 921 quake survivor Tien Yu-yen (田玉燕) from Taichung City and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟)

Tien, who lost her brother and sister-in-law in the earthquake, said that rescue teams from many countries, including Japan, came to their assistance after the quake, and that she was grateful for their help.

Having survived a devastating quake, she said it was time for the victims of the 921 earthquake to return the favor and take action to help the Japanese people in their time of need.

Tien herself was buried in rubble for eight hours before she was found and saved. She suffered a rib fracture and injuries to her head, leaving her hospitalized for a month.

Japan sent a rescue team of 145 people, the largest of any country, to Taiwan after the 921 quake, and donated more than 1,000 prefabricated houses to reconstruction efforts.

The Japanese people also donated close to NT$1.1 billion (US$37 million) to Taiwan through the Red Cross, Chien said.

He said he had already received donations of supplies from across Taiwan and would deliver the items to Japan through the Taiwanese government.

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