Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Two German NGOs open offices in Taichung center

Staff writer, with CNA

Two German search-and-rescue non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were yesterday the first to establish branches at the international NGO center in Taichung.

The BRH-Bundesverband Rettungshunde e.V. (German Search and Rescue Dog Association) and International Search and Rescue Germany (ISAR Germany) officially opened branches at the center in the city’s Wufeng District (霧峰) at an opening ceremony presided over by Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁).

The opening of the branches, which are to specialize in the training of rescue dogs and search-and-rescue teams, is expected to boost Taiwan’s capabilities in those areas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

According to the Taiwanese Trade Office in Munich, Germany, the German Search and Rescue Dog Association Taichung branch is the first outside Germany.

The organization has trained 714 search-and-rescue dogs and is training another 1,013, it said.

The organization has close ties with Taiwan and in 2016 invited the Special Search and Rescue Team under the Ministry of the Interior to Germany to conduct joint training exercises.

It also last year signed memorandums of understanding with the ministry and the Taichung City Government, and sent experts to train local rescue dogs.

The organization last year helped train four-year-old yellow Labrador Tie-hsiung (鐵雄, “Iron Hero”), who has since become a household name in Taiwan after he helped save several lives after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Hualien on Feb. 6, killing 17 people and injuring 285 after buildings collapsed.

Chen named Tie-hsiung a “Taichung City Ambassador” yesterday in recognition of his post-quake heroics.

ISAR Germany has been sanctioned by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to conduct rescue missions overseas.

Basing the two organizations in Taiwan mean their response teams would be able to send supplies, rescue equipment and personnel faster in the event of an emergency in Asia that requires search-and-rescue dogs and teams, the center said in a statement.

Such cooperation will boost Taiwan’s rescue-and-search capabilities and the nation’s international visibility, the statement added.

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