People from all walks of life in the Republic of China (Taiwan) continue donating funds and relief supplies to the Philippines following the disaster caused by super Typhoon Haiyan.
The storm devastated the central Philippines Nov. 8, 2013, causing more than 5,000 deaths and affecting over 10 million people. In accordance with President Ma Ying-jeou’s vision of the ROC as a provider of humanitarian aid, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked closely with nongovernmental organizations to provide prompt relief and assist in the reconstruction of affected areas.
Earlier this week, while leading a trade delegation to the Philippines, Wang Chih-kang, chairman of theTaiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), donated US$120,000 collected by the organization.
On Nov. 25, Sun Wen-hsien, president of the Chiu Chang Mathematics Education Foundation, took a group of 27 schoolchildren to the Philippines to participate in the International Mathematics and Science Olympiad for Primary School Students, with each child carrying 10 kilograms of rice, noodles, biscuits or canned food to be donated to storm victims through the event’s organizing committee.
These efforts follow the airlifting of more than 150 metric tons of aid supplies in 18 flights by ROC air force C-130 Hercules cargo planes Nov. 12-21, as well as the transport of 530 metric tons of relief goods to Cebu Port aboard an ROC naval vessel.
Supplies included prefabricated housing, solar generators, tents, rice, clothing, ready-to-eat food and potable water, donated by private citizens and a wide range of civic organizations and charity groups, including the ROC Red Cross Society, Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Bliss and Wisdom Foundation, Namchou Chemical Industrial Co. Ltd., I-mei Foods Co. Ltd., ROC I-Kuan Tao Association, and National Fishermen’s Association.
The goods were distributed with the assistance of volunteers working for ROC charity groups in the Philippines, joined by over 16,000 Filipinos affected by the typhoon who were employed by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.
As of Dec. 5, the total value of monetary and material donations made by the ROC government, civic groups and individual citizens had reached NT$358.5 million (US$11.09 million).
In addition, within days of the disaster a 35-person team organized by the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps arrived in the affected area to provide free medical assistance.
ROC government agencies, coordinated by Minister without Portfolio Lin Junq-tzer, have worked together closely. The Ministry of Health and Welfare promptly established a special bank account for monetary donations, while MOFA and the Ministry of National Defense designated two aid supply collection centers, one in northern Taiwan and one in the south. As mentioned above, the MND also dispatched aircraft and a ship to transport relief supplies, as well as mobilizing soldiers to help collect, sort, pack, load and ship the goods.
Local governments in Taiwan have also set up special accounts to enable citizens to easily make donations. Moreover, the Council of Agriculture collected canned fish and frozen vegetables, and the Overseas Community Affairs Council marshaled ROC firms and nationals in the Philippines for participation in relief efforts.