Officials oversee NGOs’ tsunami projects

Friday, December 8, 2006
By nias

Publication Date:12/08/2006 Section:Front Page
By Edwin Hsiao
A supervisory delegation from Taiwan inspected the progress of reconstruction work in several sites of tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka and Indonesia Nov. 28-Dec. 2, almost two years after the catastrophe devastated several South and Southeast Asian countries and killed more than 200,000 people.

Members of the delegation included Hsu Kuo-lang, chief secretary of the Government Information Office–the agency that publishes this newspaper–and Lin Chia-lung, secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. As then-GIO minister, Lin initiated the 10,000 Hopes project in wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in late 2004.

The project aimed to help 10,000 children in tsunami-affected areas for three years. Taiwanese citizens and corporations donated more than US$12 million to the project. The GIO authorized four NGOs–the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, World Vision Taiwan, the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation and Child Welfare League Foundation, R.O.C–to use the fund.

The supervisory group first visited the Tzu Chi Village in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, Nov. 28. The first phase of the village comprising 649 houses was completed in April and, to date, around 500 families are living in the village. Construction on the second phase began in October 2006, which would include a school and other public facilities. It is hoped that the work will be completed in one year and the school handed over to the local government in 2008.

The following day, the delegation visited the child center space in Tangalle, accommodating 1,300 children and operated by the Taiwan Fund For Children and Families. The NGO received US$3.3 million from the 10,000 Hopes project for its three-year relief project, which, starting July 2005, would help 3,000 children and young people in southern and southeastern Sri Lanka.

The delegation left for Indonesia Dec. 1. and visited Nias, one of the regions hardest-hit by the tsunami. With a donation of US$3.5 million, the 10,000 Hopes project cooperated with WVT to help reconstruct schools on the island off Sumatra’s west coast and to help parents of schoolchildren rebuild their lives and careers, partly by working on classroom and road construction.

Lin, on his second visit to oversee the 10,000 Hopes project in Indonesia, was quoted by the quasi-official Central News Agency as saying he was pleased to see work proceeding smoothly. “Last year, many schoolchildren were still barefoot and had no uniforms and schoolbags. This time around, we see them joyfully attending school in neat uniforms and shoes with textbooks and stationery in schoolbags,” Lin said.
Later that day, Lin and other project supervisors visited the North Nias District where Administrator Binahati B. Baeha expressed his heartfelt thanks for Taiwan’s generous humanitarian aid to his district. Binahati said he hoped to visit Taiwan in the future to promote bilateral exchanges.

Source: Taiwan Journal, Vol. XXIII No.48. December 8, 2006

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December 2006