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Taiwan needs your help

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posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 03:43 PM

I am an American living in Taiwan. As you probably
know, Taiwan has been hammered the past few days by
the aftereffects of Typhoon Mindulle. Here in
Taichung City, we have had more than 1000 mm (40
inches) of rain the past four days. Fortunately, we
have only had minimal damage here in the city and our
lives have only been minimally inconvenienced.

Just to our west, in Dakeng (the mountainous part of
Taichung City), Taiping City, Dongshi Township and
Heping Township, rainfall totals are between 1400 and
1600 mm (56 and 64 inches) so far. There has been
significant destruction in this area. Eight people
have died in this area thus far and thousands are
homeless. The death toll nationwide is now at 18.

Further south, in parts of Nantou, Chiayi, Tainan, and
Kaohsiung counties, the situation is even worse. Some
places are nearing 2000 mm (80 inches) rainfall totals
with rain continuing. Flooding is worse than anyone
can remember. A 100-year-old bridge that has survived
previous floods and the 921 earthquake in 1999 has
been damaged beyond repair along with at least 17
other bridges here in Taiwan. The savage violence of
the rivers is impressive and extremely destructive.
Homes, bridges and personal belongings are floating.
Unfortunately, many of these areas are among the
poorest in Taiwan.

In some towns and cities, floodwaters have gutted
homes and destroyed the personal belongings of
thousands of people. Media here in Taiwan have shown
homes inundated with half a meter (19 inches) or more
of water. Many families have lost everything that
they have.

Government and relief agencies are swamped. I live
across the street from the Taichung office of Tzu Chi,
one of the largest and best organized relief agencies
in Taiwan. They have been working nonstop to get
food, clothes, and money to those who need it.
Despite their tireless work, I am certain that they
are only getting to a small proportion of the people
who desperately need help.

Please help the people of Taiwan. The best way is to
send cash. Food, medicine, clothes, blankets and
other needed supplies are produced locally in Taiwan
and can be obtained more readily and cheaply than
shipping it from North America or other overseas
locations. The best organization to donate to would
be Tzu Chi as they are based right here in Taiwan. Other
organizations would be the Red Cross and Catholic
Charities. Both organizations are active here in
Taiwan. All three organizations can also be counted
on to ignore any possible insistence from Beijing that
all aid be funneled through them.

Taiwanese can always be counted on to help others when
disaster strikes. From 9/21 in the USA to the
earthquake in Bam, Taiwanese help others with they are
in need. Now, Taiwanese are in need. Please help.

Thank you,

Michael Le Houllier
Taichung, Taiwan


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