Face­book page closed by ROC’s Red Cross

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

The Red Cross So­ci­ety of the R. O. C. ( ) suspended its Face­book page yes­ter­day amid calls to avoid giv­ing dona­tions to the or­ga­ni­za­tion from ne­ti­zens who ac­cused it of de­duct­ing large amounts of con­tri­bu­tions to cover ad­min­is­tra­tive costs.

The calls came af­ter the so­ci­ety be­gan fundrais­ing on Sun­day in wake of the April 25 earth­quake in Nepal for an ul­ti­mate goal of NT$ 30 mil­lion ( ap­prox­i­mately US$1 mil­lion).

Ne­ti­zens, in­clud­ing actress Cheng Chia-chun ( ), be­gan post­ing on Face­book call­ing for a boy­cott of the Red Cross So­ci­ety’s fundrais­ing drive, al­leg­ing that large amounts of money are used to cover the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ad­min­is­tra­tive fees, rather than for hu­man­i­tar­ian pur­poses. Af­ter a del­uge of crit­i­cal posts were posted on the so­ci­ety’s of­fi­cial Face­book page, the Red Cross took the page off­line.

Crit­ics say that the Red Cross So­ci­ety only do­nated NT$430 mil­lion of the NT$2.57 bil­lion col­lected in Tai­wan for the Fukushima dis­as­ter of 2011. They also ac­cuse the or­ga­ni­za­tion of re­ject­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for aid from res­i­dents fol­low­ing the 2014 Kaoh­si­ung gas ex­plo­sions.

The Red Cross flatly de­nied the fig­ures, say­ing that 99.86 per­cent of dona­tions went to dis­as­ter re­lief ef­forts, a fig­ure that it said was ver­i­fied by the Ja­panese Red Cross. In re­sponse to the re­jected ap­pli­ca­tions for aid, the So­ci­ety said that those re­jec­tions were due to the fact that some res­i­dents had al­ready been com­pen­sated by au­thor­i­ties.

The so­ci­ety’s spokesman, Hsu Hsiao-tzi, replied that hu­man­i­tar­ian pri­or­i­ties meant that it did not have the re­sources or man­power to re­spond to mes­sages left on its Face­book page. Hsu added that the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s of­fi­cial Face­book site would prob­a­bly re­main off­line in the com­ing days. He said that false in­for­ma­tion had been cir­cu­lat­ing over the In­ter­net de­spite re­peated refu­ta­tions and ex­pla­na­tions from the Red Cross.

Re­lief Aid from Tai­wan Be­gins

to Ar­rive

Yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, per­son­nel from a com­bined dis­as­ter re­lief force com­prised of the Red Cross, In­ter­na­tional Head­quar­ters Search and Res­cue Tai­wan (

), Bud­dha’s Light In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion R.O.C. ( ) and the Kaoh­si­ung Chang Gung Hos­pi­tal ( ) flew to Nepal.

Mean­while, t he Tzu Chi Foun­da­tion ( ) also an­nounced yes­ter­day that its med­i­cal teams had ar­rived in Kathmandu along with one ton of emer­gency med­i­cal sup­plies, enough to pro­vide for 1,000 pa­tients. Ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion, med­i­cal teams will begin re­lief op­er­a­tions to­day.

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