» 08/20/2009, 00.00
Billions allocated for reconstruction in wake of typhoon Morakot
An initial allocation of over 2 billion Euros set aside today. President Ma visits the population most affected by the earthquake. Meanwhile the political crisis worsens with the resignation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, but the premier does not accept any resignation.
Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Taiwanese government today approved the allocation of 100 billion Taiwan dollars (about 2.13 billion Euros) over 3 years for reconstruction after the immense damage caused by typhoon Morakot. Meanwhile, the political storm over delays in aid and lack of assistance shows no sign of abating. Yesterday, as President Ma Yingjeou went into the affected area, Defense Minister Chen Chaomin resigned.
Politicians and public opinion charge that rescue efforts, especially the army, was slow, while whole villages were submerged by meters of mud that caused over 500 deaths.
The resignation of Chen followed those of two other members of the government, even if yesterday Chaoshiuan Premier Liu said that the resignations will not be accepted because it is now important to address the emergency. At least 11 thousand people are still without water and electricity, 11 days after the disaster. The damage to houses, crops, infrastructure, industrial plants are estimated at 110 billion local dollars.
The government responds that no one could have foreseen the violence of the typhoon, the most serious for at least 50 years. However, objectively speaking only 2100 soldiers were initially sent, while in following days about 43,300 military personnel intervened.
Yesterday President Ma, who has been the focus of criticism for the delay in rescue efforts and for having refused foreign aid offered by China, visited the village of Hsiaolin, in the worst affected. The village is still submerged under several meters of mud and the people, being housed in neighbouring localities, have openly criticized Ma insisting that the landslides were caused by construction of the Tsengwen Reservoir Water Diversion Project that started 5 years ago.
Typhoon Morakot hits Ma Ying-jeou’s government
The vice-foreign minister resigns; the Premier, the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of Parliament also expected to resign. The popularity of the president is down to a minimum. The army will be directed to form a civil protection force to deal with natural disasters.
Taipei, Morakot death toll “over 500”
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou admits for first time to number of deaths. Government agency speaks of "more than 390 people buried alive" in the village of Hsiaolin in the south of the island, the hardest hit by the typhoon. Political controversy mounts overt delays and inefficiency in relief.
PIME missionaries among the victims of Typhoon Morakot
Fr. Paul Spanghero recounts the miseries and tragedies wreaked by Typhoon - the most violent in the past 50 years - that caused the deaths of 292 people and left 395 missing two weeks ago in Taiwan. The national economy is sorely tried and displaced people struggle to survive. The priest also reveals signs of hope.
New prime minister appointed after cabinet quits
President Ma Ying-jeou accepts Prime Minister Liu Chao-shiuan’s resignation and replaces him with close ally Wu Den-yih within an hour. New cabinet should be ready in a few days time. For experts Taiwan’s political orientation will not change as president tries to quickly nip in the bud criticism over inefficient rescue and aid delivery.
Card. Shan receives Taiwan peace prize
The cardinal has contributed to peace and ethnic harmony especially visiting the victims of Typhoon Morakot. Also awarded an NGO of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, for the care of teenagers forced into prostitution. Awards will be presented by Ma Ying-jeou on 1 November.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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