Tue, August 25, 2009
China > HK/Taiwan > Typhoon Morakot slams Taiwan

Putting pieces back together in Taiwan

2009-08-24 03:08:47 GMT2009-08-24 11:08:47 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

A technician from the mainland (rear right) checks the installation of a prefabricated house at Shiao Lin, Kaohsiung county. Three technicians arrived while another seven are ready to leave for Taiwan. Chen Xinhan

New homes for disaster victims in Taiwan are now being assembled with help from three mainland technicians.

The offer of prefabricated houses was first declined by residents in Kaohsiung county, who feared they contained excess levels of the chemical formol.

But the Taiwan inspection authority announced Sunday that the prefabricated houses from the mainland are safe.

The trio is the first of 10 mainland technicians invited by Taiwan to enter disaster areas and provide guidance for assembling the houses for the victims, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Taiwan has been reluctant to let the mainland offer direct help to disaster-hit areas. Although four officials from the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits were allowed to enter Taiwan to convey disaster relief supplies last week, they were not approved to enter disaster-hit areas to visit victims.

Local authorities said so far more than 400 homeless families have applied for the prefabricated houses.

The third batch of prefabricated houses donated by the mainland to help hundreds of Taiwan families left homeless by Typhoon Morakot will land in Taiwan today. A total of 1,000 prefab houses will land in Taiwan by the end of August.

The death toll from Morakot rose to at least 650 Sunday after the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan in half a century.

Liu Chao-shiuan, head of Taiwan's "executive Yuan", said 160 were confirmed dead, with another 490 listed as missing and presumed dead.

In Shiao Lin, the village hardest hit by massive mudslides, hundreds of soldiers were searching the area. Some looked for floating bodies while others prepared to dig up more than 400 bodies believed buried under meters of mud, said military relief operation spokesman Tai Chan-teh.

In addition to the Taiwan authorities' three-year reconstruction budget of about NT$ 100 billion ($3.1 billion), the Chinese mainland contributed 781 million yuan ($115 million) two weeks after the disaster hit Taiwan.

The mainland's donation came from all parts of the country, including people in Sichuan province who received generous support from Taiwan compatriots and Buddhists and monks who pray for blessings of the typhoon victims in the island.

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