Charity organizations yesterday urged the public to appreciate the need for better disaster preparedness on the fourth anniversary of Typhoon Morokot’s destructive visit to Taiwan.
While many people recognize the importance of rescue work, they tend to overlook disaster prevention and preparation, said Torbors Chyuan, executive director of the Typhoon Morakot Rehabilitation Program at World Vision Taiwan.
“If prevention work is done well, it reduces the possibility of disasters occurring,” he said.
World Vision has been working with local government and village leaders over the past two years to set up food storage stations, identify high-risk areas and draw up evacuation plans for remote villages, he said.
Lisa Hsu, director of communications and development at the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, said her organization has been able to pay more attention to disaster prevention this year now that Morakot reconstruction work has finally begun to wrap up.
She said the Red Cross tries to promote disaster prevention through lectures in high-risk areas and encouraging the creation of locally run disaster response groups.
“In the long run, this will help the residents become more knowledgeable in their response to disasters,” Hsu said.
Both organizations said public support was an important part of effective prevention. Help from the public is also needed to offset the costs of training, equipment and facilities, Chyuan said.
Local communities need to find the resources and willpower to work together if prevention work is to be effective, Hsu said.
Morakot landed in Taiwan on Aug. 8, 2009, bringing torrential rainfall, which triggered flooding and landslides across the center and south of the nation. The hardest-hit areas were in Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Nantou and Taitung counties.
As of last month, NT$25.39 billion (US$848.66 million) has been donated to post-Morakot relief efforts by the government and private sector.
World Vision received NT$1.39 billion, NT$5.22 billion went to the Red Cross and NT$4.6 billion to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.
The three groups are among the largest charities in Taiwan.