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Taiwanese reach out to Afghan refugees

Published: December 11, 2001
Source: Taiwan Headlines

Taiwan's longstanding contribution to international humanitarian aid efforts continues as the first vessel carrying relief supplies provided by the ROC government and private Taiwanese relief organizations to Afghanistan sets sail Wednesday. 

The supply ship, packed with seven 40-ft. containers and 6500 crates of supplies, is expected to reach its destination in Iran by the end of the month, at which time it will be distributed locally by the Iranian Red Crescent with assistance from Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers. 

Each crate has been packed with the needs of one individual household in mind. Thus, the current shipment will contribute to the relief of 6500 Afghan families. 

Supplies have been provided by government agencies with support from the Tzu Chi Foundation, the Chifengtsao Foundation, Taiwan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association, and the Taiwan Medical Equipment Manufacturers' Association. As this first delivery leaves port, the government is already working with international relief agencies to coordinate the preparation of the second major shipment of supplies from Taiwan. 

According to the Government Information Office (GIO), more than US$7 million in relief supplies -- including foodstuffs, tents, winter clothing, blankets, medicine, and medical supplies -- has been raised in Taiwan to date. 

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, in addition to expressing Taiwan's full support for the U.S.-led fight against terrorism, President Chen Shui-bian articulated deep concern for the settlement and relief of Afghan refugees. With this in mind, Chen expressed Taiwan's willingness to contribute maximum assistance to global humanitarian aid efforts. 

GIO sources noted the active involvement of numerous charity organizations in Taiwan throughout the years. In addition to the widely recognized work of private organizations, the government's foreign medical relief program has also earned high marks as Taiwan's public and private sectors team up to deliver warmth and care around the globe. 

To date, more than US$16 million has been raised in Taiwan and among the overseas Taiwanese community in the United States for humanitarian aid to families of victims of the September 11 attacks and to Afghan refugees. 

A proven contributor to international humanitarian efforts, Taiwan continues to demonstrate its willingness to work with the international community to further peace, stability and prosperity around the globe, the GIO officials said.

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