Taiwan dispatches additional help to victims

To provide immediate and comprehensive care for the victims of the Indonesia earthquake, the government-sponsored Taiwan International Health Action group dispatched three additional doctors to the affected area yesterday, a health official said.
The two orthopedists and one general practitioner were the second batch of relief workers sent from Taiwan, said Peter Chang (張武修), director-general of the Bureau of International Cooperation under the Department of Health.
They will be providing emergency medical care at the ad hoc triage centers set up by the Taiwan search and rescue team, which arrived less than 30 hours after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, Chang added.
"Taiwan IHA and Taiwan Rescue Team were the first foreign aid groups to arrive in the area," he said, adding that a third team of workers is ready to go to Bantul at a moment's notice.
Bantul was one of the hardest-hit areas in the devastating temblor that shook Indonesia's Java Island on Saturday, leaving over 5,000 people dead and 200,000 homeless.
In addition to the 2,000 kilograms of food and rescue equipment that has already arrived in Indonesia, Taiwan's government will also be donating another 100 kilograms of medical supplies and equipment, including IV drops, saline solutions, medicines, and bags of artificial blood, Chang said.
"With the combined effort of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, we are also sending over 200 light blankets and 200 tents," he disclosed.
Furthermore, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pledged to donate US$100,000 to the Indonesian earthquake relief fund. It will be presented to the Indonesia government via Taiwan's representative office in Jakarta.
Health Action group convener Richard Fang said despite of lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Indonesian government wholeheartedly welcomed Taiwan's humanitarian aid.
"Not only did our donations receive priority attention, our relief workers are granted landing visas upon their arrival," he said, adding that the Taiwanese workers will stay in Indonesia for as long as is necessary.
In additional to government efforts, many Taiwanese civic groups and non-governmental organizations are also looking to contribute to the relief process.
Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist-based organization, dispatched 51 volunteers, including five doctors, one nurse and one pharmacist, to the disaster area on Sunday. The foundation has also donated over 500 kilograms of goods such as tents, sarons, straw mats, powdered milk, baby food, rice, and clothes.
Both World Vision Taiwan and The Red Cross Society of the R.O.C. are both raising funds for those affected by the earthquake. Claire Yang of World Vision Taiwan said it was not suitable so far for people to donate goods since most of the infrastructure in southeastern Java where the temblor hit was flattened, making making it difficult to transport and distribute the items.
"What we are trying to do right now is to raise at least US$100,000. We will use the money to buy the supplies locally," she said.