Outpouring of help for victims of disaster
There has been a huge outpouring of support in Taiwan for the hundreds of people injured in an explosion and fire at a water park in New Taipei on Saturday in the form of cash, blood and legal assistance.
Practicing lawyer Lai Fang-yu decided to organize a volunteer team of lawyers to provide legal help to the 500 people— mostly teenagers and young adults — who were hurt in the dust explosion at Formosa Fun Coast Water Park.
“Watching those kids running around in the fire, my heart broke,” Lai said on her Facebook page Monday.
Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions President Chuang Chueh-an announced Monday a contribution of NT$100,000 (US$3,229) in cash to a special account held by New Taipei City Government’s Social Welfare Department for disasterrelief donations.
Chuang urged members of the confederation to contribute what they could for the injured, who he said face long rehabilitation periods ahead that will likely require more resources than a single municipal government can provide.
One of the hundreds injured has since died from severe burns and more than 200 others who suffered burns during the blast were still being treated in intensive care wards at multiple hospitals as of Monday afternoon.
The accident, the worst disaster of its kind in Taiwan’s history, reflects the importance of keeping workplaces and commercial venues safe, Chuang said, and he called on authorities to take further steps to ensure occupational and public safety.
Meanwhile, cash donations were also made by the Petroleum Association of Taiwan and Want Want Holding Chairman Tsai Eng-meng, who donated NT$5 million for medi- cal assistance, according to the Want Want China Times Group.
The group also encouraged employees to donate one day wages to the relief effort.
Notebook computer manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. announced Monday that it was donating NT$10 million to the cause.
In addition to cash donations, many people went to donate blood on Monday after word got out on the Internet that blood could be in short supply when those with the most serious burns were operated on.
There were 120 people lined up at the Banqiao blood donation station in New Taipei as of Monday noon, and station chief Lin Kuanchih predicted the number would surpass 200 on the day, three times the normal number, according to its of Apple Daily.
As people rushed to give blood, however, the Taipei Blood Center cautioned that enough blood had been collected for the burn victims and urged people to donate blood on a regular basis in the future rather than en masse now because blood only has a shelf-life of 35 days.
Celebrities’ Facebook Pages
Popular celebrities, including pop singer Jolin Tsai and Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase, tried to comfort the injured with messages on their Facebook pages.
“My most sincere love and blessing for Liu and every patient hurt badly in the dust explosion,” Tsai wrote.
The “Liu” she referred to is a 19-year-old male studying fashion design at Taipei College of Maritime Technology who suffered burns to 90 percent of his body.
His mother told the media that Tsai and Taiwanese Canadian fashion designer Jason Wu are his idols.
Though the tragedy brought out the best in many people, it also exposed the dark side of humanity.
A 33-year-old man named Wang Liang-kai was suspected of using the chaos caused by the fire on Saturday night to steal money from people at the “Color Play Asia” party, and he also allegedly took the mobile phone of an injured person who asked him to call for help.
Wang was arrested on theft charges on Sunday and taken to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office for interrogation. He was released on NT$30,000 bail.
Volunteers wait to donate blood in Greater Kaohsiung, yesterday. Blood donation stations were hit with a surge of volunteers yesterday, after hundreds of people were injured at a water park on Saturday.