The government has collected about NT$60 million (US$2.1 million) in donations through Line Pay and convenience stores for victims of last week’s fatal train accident and plans to establish an oversight committee to determine how the funds should be used to help them, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday.
The accident occurred at 9:28am on Friday, when a southbound Taroko Express train traveling from New Taipei City to Taitung hit a crane truck that had slid down a hill from a nearby construction site onto the rails as the train was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林).
As of yesterday, 50 people were reported dead and 200 people were injured.
“We have received many inquiries about where people could make a donation, so we have set up specific bank accounts for people to do so,” Chen told a news conference at the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) yesterday, the first day that people could donate money through the four major convenience store chains.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare is in charge of accepting public donations.
Prior to allowing electronic payment services, the ministry on Sunday published several accounts that people can donate to via wire or postal transfer.
.Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
In addition to the Line Pay and convenience store donations, Chen said that more records of donations would be published when banks resume service after the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend.
The ministry would also set up an oversight committee to strictly regulate the use of the funds, he said.
The committee would be formed by stakeholders and independent third parties, which would ensure that the funds would not be used to pay for government expenditures, he added.
Lee Yi-hsiang (李義祥), the driver of the crane truck, faced more allegations as several photos posted online apparently showed he was with other people when the accident occurred.
Asked if Lee was alone or with other people at the time, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said at the news conference that he was told many of the people who were in the photos were not construction workers.
Except for Lee, the agency has yet to ascertain the identities of the other people in the photos, TRA Chief Secretary Yen Wen-chung (顏文忠) said.
The agency has not confirmed if Lee breached the agency’s order of not working on the construction site from Thursday to yesterday, Yen said.
The contractor of the side slope project was Dong Shin Construction Co (東新營造), the TRA said, adding that Lee, who owns a construction company as well, was recruited by Dong Shin as the supervisor of the construction site and subcontractor of the project.
The Construction Industry Act (營造業法) stipulates that the management of a construction enterprise cannot be a principal, full-time engineer or job site director of another construction enterprise.
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