Mon, Feb 08, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Earthquake Aftermath: Soup kitchens spring up to feed rescuers

HELPING HANDS:Several restaurant owners cooked food to help keep rescue workers and relatives of the missing warm as the weather turned cold

By Huang Chia-ling, Wu chun-feng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

As rescuers struggled to save people still trapped in the ruins of the collapsed Weiguan Jinlong building in Tainan’s Yongkang District (永康) amid a cold snap, volunteers set up soup kitchens nearby to provide hot food for rescue workers and relatives of the missing.

The Central Weather Bureau forecast that nighttime and early-morning temperatures in most parts of the nation would dip below 10°C until tomorrow.

Kuo Cheng-chang (郭政樟) and eight members of his family were distributing free bowls of hot pot and noodles to first responders, who eagerly lined up for something hot to replenish their energy after hours of working in the cold.

The proprietor and chef of a hot-pot restaurant in Tainan, Kuo said he and his sister left their family restaurant in the hands of their employees to handle a fully booked Lunar New Year’s Eve.

“I do not know how to save people, but I know a lot about making a good stew. This is the part where my professional skills can help,” he said.

“My stoves will be kept on for as long as there is a rescue operation. I am keeping everybody fed and warm, regardless of costs,” he said.

Other volunteers began arriving at the site on Saturday to provide aid and succor to the rescue workers and police officers.

A restaurant owner on Saturday set up a temporary kitchen that provided 500 servings of the traditional holiday pork stew known as Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (佛跳牆) to rescue workers, while a charity group distributed hot baozi (包子) buns.

Volunteers from groups as well as individuals also distributed hand warmers and heat pads to police officers stationed at checkpoints to maintain a cordon and traffic control around the collapsed building.

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