Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2010-01-16 12:00 AM
Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the 7.0 earthquake which struck near the capital Port-au-Prince Tuesday.
The first team of 23 rescue workers and two dogs left late Wednesday and were expected to arrive in Haiti yesterday.
The second group will take 3,000 kilograms of rescue equipment and aid supplies. Its members include six doctors and nurses from the Tri-Service General Hospital, 12 members of Taipei City's international rescue team, and 15 people from the Red Cross Society.
No dogs will be part of the second team because Haiti is a rabies area and because the key 72 hours during which victims are most likely to be found alive will be over by the time the group reaches Haiti, officials said.
The Taiwanese ambassador to Haiti, Hsu Mien-sheng, is recovering in a hospital in the Dominican Republic after spending six hours buried under the rubble. Another diplomat being treated at the same hospital, Chi Wang-te, was injured in the head and chest, but his situation was stable, doctors said.
Hsu told visiting Taiwanese reporters he wanted to return to Haiti as soon as possible to do his work.
The daughter of an engineer who had been reported as the first Taiwanese fatality in the earthquake Thursday, was listed as missing yesterday. The Taiwanese community in Haiti includes diplomats, development aid workers, staff of the Overseas Engineering and Construction Company, and business people, totaling about 30.
Three Haitian students studying medicine in Taiwan said they were ready to accompany the Taiwanese relief teams to their home country to help. @Nadjy Joseph, a student at Taipei Medical University, launched a fund-raising campaign to help victims rebuild their homes. She learned from a friend that her own relatives were safe, reports said.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan counts 32 Haitian students, including 24 who received Taiwan government scholarships, with 16 of the total here for language studies. Education Minister Wu Ching-chi told ministry officials to call each of the students and universities to give them the necessary assistance.
Two of the three medicine students already hold licenses allowing to work as doctors in their native country, the ministry said.
Taiwan has donated a total of US$500,000 to Haiti. Private groups were also collecting money and goods for the disaster area. In one of the initiatives, the Hualien-based Tzu Chi Foundation said it was preparing 350,000 boxes of instant rice meals and 50,000 blankets for the survivors.
Officials at the opposition Democratic Progressive Party were donating one day's pay to earthquake relief, and several Buddhist and Christian religious groups were organizing fund-raising activities and setting up coordination centers to manage the flow of aid goods.