Government, groups pledge to help earthquake-hit Nepal


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s government agencies and civic groups have begun soliciting donations as they prepare to head to Nepal to provide relief to the landlocked country after it was battered by a powerful earthquake on Saturday.

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (���v��) sent his deepest condolences on Sunday to Nepal’s government and to everyone affected by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake through Taiwan’s representative in India Tien Chung-kwang, who was in Nepal when the temblor hit.

Taiwan’s government and nongovernmental organizations will do everything they can to help with disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction, Mao promised, according to Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (�]�߸s).

Taiwan’s government has also donated NT$9.2 million (US$300,000) in support of disaster relief efforts, and Tien and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have set up a task force to help with the disaster response.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also begun collecting donations through a special bank account opened by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In addition, several hospitals affiliated with the Health Ministry have organized medical teams ready to travel to Nepal and provide medical aid to people affected by the earthquake.

The special search and rescue team of the New Taipei City Fire Department, meanwhile, is prepared to head to Nepal should its assistance be needed.

Another civic group, the nonprofit Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps (TRMPC) plans to depart for Nepal on May 1 to provide medical aid to affected people if the Nepalese government is willing to accept foreign aid and reopen airports in the country, the group’s chairman Liu Chi-chun said Sunday.

The medical team is expected to stay in Nepal until May 10 if the trip comes off, provided that relevant conditions are met, according to Liu.

The group has expressed its willingness to participate in international relief operations in the country through Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan’s Representative Tien and a Japanese nongovernmental medical physicians association, Liu said.

Also Sunday, the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation said it will send an advance detachment to affected areas in Nepal to gain an understanding of what kind of assistance is needed there.

The Red Cross Society of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has set up a special bank account to receive donations to help with earthquake relief and reconstruction efforts in Nepal.

Similarly, the nonprofit Waker Welfare Action Association and President Chain Store Corp. have begun soliciting donations for the cause through the ibon system found in the more than 5,000 7-Eleven convenience stores around Taiwan.