China - Taiwan Province

Taiwanese districts respond after deadly typhoon

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By Ryan Hyland
Rotary International News

Districts in Taiwan are coordinating relief efforts after Typhoon Morakot triggered massive mudslides and flooding 7-9 August, killing an estimated 500 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage.

RI Director Jackson San-Lien Hsieh, a member of the Rotary Club of Taipei Sunrise, has worked closely with the seven district governors in Taiwan to gather resources to aid the hardest-hit southern areas.

"I believe the Rotarians in Taiwan will do whatever it takes to reach out and offer our assistance to help rebuild," says Hsieh. "We will care for those people and areas that have been most impacted by this disaster."

Fortunately, he says, no Rotarians were directly affected by the typhoon, which caused the worst flooding Taiwan has seen in 50 years.

Hsieh and the governors of districts 3460, 3470, 3480, 3490, 3500, 3510, and 3520 have decided to put in place several relief initiatives:

Build a village of temporary shelters for those left homeless by the storm

Help provide supplies for educational institutions that were damaged

Locate and repair damaged pipelines, sewer lines, and water towers to help ensure that clean water is available

Provide volunteer medical professionals and supplies to assist injured victims

Cash contributions have started to come in from Rotarians worldwide, says Hsieh.

Chin-Ho Liao, a member of the Rotary Club of San Gabriel, California, USA, donated $10,000 to support relief efforts. Originally from Taiwan, Liao felt the need to take action.

"I wanted to help right away," he says. "As a Rotarian, my donation is a token of what Rotary is all about. Hopefully this encourages other clubs and districts to help out."

Liao, whose club donated an additional $1,000, has been in contact with District 3510, which is located in one of the most devastated areas, to coordinate ways to best allocate the funds.