China - Taiwan Province

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou thanks mainland, int'l society for aid

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TAIPEI, Aug 18, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday expressed gratitude to the Chinese mainland and the international community for typhoon disaster relief aid.

Ma said at a press conference he would review Taiwan's disaster prevention system and improve the efficiency of the relief work.

Ma said six rescue team members died in rescue operation and the people around the island have shown great affection toward those who suffered from the disaster, and had worked together to take part in disaster relief.

According a statement from the island's authorities, the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and other non-governmental organizations and individuals on the mainland have donated more than 1.1 billion New Taiwan Dollars (about 33 million U.S. dollars) to the typhoon-battered island for disaster relief by Tuesday.

The Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR) government and the Macao SAR government have also sent 210 million and 40 million New Taiwan Dollars, it said. Donations from non-governmental organizations and individuals amounted to more than 430 million New Taiwan dollars.

Morakot killed at least 127 people by Tuesday morning, and more than 500 villagers had been buried alive in mudslides. More than 300 people were still missing and 45 were injured.

So far, the mainland had sent two consignments of relief to Taiwan, including sleeping bags, blankets, sterilizers and prefabricated houses.