President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday asked Taiwanese to make donations and pray for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province.
Ma posted on his Facebook page that the number of casualties has continued to rise since the magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Yaan City. The death toll stands at 193, with more than 12,200 injured.
Ma said that the world is concerned about the situation and that he had asked the Mainland Affairs Council to convey the nation’s condolences and to place rescue teams on standby in case China asks for assistance.
The government, in line with the precedent set by the quake in China’s Qinghai Province and the mudslides in Gansu Province in 2010, has donated US$1 million, Ma said.
Taiwan should play the role of humanitarian aid provider if it wants to become a respected country that touches people’s hearts, he said.
He said he hopes the public will show concern, as they did after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan and after a 2008 quake in Wenchuan, Sichuan Province.
Meanwhile, more Taiwanese businesses have contributed to the relief efforts. Formosa Plastics Group gave 50 million yuan (US$8 million) and Pou Chen Corp said it would give a total of 20 million yuan — 10 million yuan in cash and 10 million yuan worth of supplies. Cathay Financial Holdings donated 7 million yuan, while Taiwan Life Insurance Co donated 3 million yuan.