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August 16, 2009

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Taiwan in new aid call

THE Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said yesterday the island was in urgent need of more material from the mainland for relief work in the wake of Typhoon Morakot.

The typhoon is estimated to have killed more than 500 people after dumping more than 2 meters of rain on the island last weekend, triggering landslides and flooding villages in the mountainous south.

SEF said it hoped the mainland could provide manual and automatic sterilizing machines, blankets and sleeping bags, in a letter to the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

It previously asked for mobile homes from the mainland. ARATS officials have pledged to send supplies to Taiwan as soon as possible.

Also yesterday, an official with the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the mainland would provide any necessary relief materials.

It ordered factories to produce portable shelters day and night and the first batch is expected to arrive in Taiwan on Monday.

The confirmed death toll from Typhoon Morakot was 124 people as of 10pm yesterday, but Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said it could reach 500.

Mainland Red Cross organizations, banks, Buddhist associations and large companies have donated millions of yuan to help with the relief work.

Also, kung fu star Jet Li and fellow celebrities helped raise more than US$15 million in a televised fund-raiser for victims in Taipei on Friday.


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