Dalai Lama invited to Taiwan

The Associated Press reports that the Dalai Lama has accepted in principle an invitation to come to Taiwan to comfort typhoon survivors.

On Wednesday, leaders of seven municipalities recently hit by Morakot issued a joint statement inviting the Dalai Lama to visit storm victims from August 31 to September 4. (source: Salon)

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou quickly signalled his willingness to allow the visit. The move represents a climbdown by Ma and his party, who in deference to China's rulers had opposed such visits until now.

This will be the third visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan in the past twelve years.


Conductor's Notebook


Typhoon Relief

Many people are asking how they may provide volunteer help and donations for the devastated areas of southern Taiwan. This post is for you. The information here is updated regularly as more details reach me.

Resources appear under two headings: Immediate Assistance (contribution of goods and volunteer time) and Financial Assistance.

Immediate Assistance

The Kaohsiung City Government has created a regional emergency response hub to accept and distribute aid to typhoon victims across southern Taiwan. Relief workers are calling for the following items:

cooking oil (食用油)
bottles water (水)
rice (米)
instant noodles (泡麵 / 方便麵)
milk powder (奶粉)
waterproof canvas (防水帆布)
mosquito nets (蚊帳)
clothes (新或二手衣物)
blankets (毯子)
buckets (水桶)
cookware (廚具)
flash lights (手電筒)
radios (收音機)
cleaning supplies (清潔用品)
- brooms to detergents (掃帚到洗滌劑都可以)
batteries (電池)
gloves (手套)
garbage bags (垃圾袋)
sanitation masks (健全衛生口罩)

Deliver or ship items to:

Kaohsiung City Hall
Attention: Typhoon Relief
No. 2 Sihwei 3rd Road
Lingya District
Kaohsiung City 80203, TAIWAN
80203 高雄市苓雅區四維三路2號


International - 886.7337.3375
Taiwan - 07337.3357

The Kaohsiung relief centre takes donations each day until at least 21:00 (9:00 pm).

Additional collection points have been set up in the locations listed below. All locations plan to accept donations through the remainder of August or longer.


Deliver or ship:
World Vision c/o The Brass Monkey
166 Fuxing North Road
銅猴子 台北市復興北路166號
Telephone: 02.2547.5050
E-mail: max@brassmonkeytaipei.com

Deliver or ship:
Shih Lin Catholic Church
No. 264 Zhongzheng Road
Shilin District
Telephone: 02.2832.4270

Deliver or ship:
No. 74-1 Jinsi Street
Datong District
(Near MRT Shuanglian Station)
Telephone: 02.2557.0658


Púzĭ (Putzi) City Administration
No. 34, Guangfu Road
Putzi City, Jiayi County
嘉義縣朴子市光復路34號 朴子市公所
Telephone: 05.379.5102 /34


Deliver to:
Zhongzheng Hall
No. 36 Minzhi (Minjhih) Road
Xinying (Sinying) City, Tainan County

Ship to:
Social Affairs Department
No. 36, Fuxi (Fusi) Road
Xinying (Sinying) City
(新營市府西路36號) 社會處收
Telephone: 09.8053.7516 / 06.511.5692

Deliver or ship to:
World Vision Tainan
8F, No. 243,
Section 1 Minquan (Mincyuan) Road
(台南市民權路一段243號8樓 黃雅詩)
Telephone: 06.2215.8004


Deliver daily until 17:30 to:
Dapeng Bay Tourist Information Center
No. 69, Dalian Road
Pingtung City near Millennium Park
(Qiānxī Gōngyuán 千禧公園旁) 屏東市大連路69號)
Telephone: 08.736.5600 / 08.736.5012

Deliver or ship to:
World Vision Pingtung City
Attention: Mr Huang
No. 124, Xingfeng (Hsingfeng) Road
Pingtung City
(屏東市興豐路124號 黃伯翰)
Telephone: 08.737.0483


Deliver or ship to:
No. 60, Jieshou Road
Chaojhou Township, Pingtung County
Telephone: 08.7806.7165

The Morakot Internet Disaster Centre (莫 拉克災情網路中心) is hosted by the Association of Digital Culture Taiwan (台灣數位文化協會). The site, in Chinese, has information for those wishing to donate goods or cash. The Association publishes news updates at Plurk through the user name @taiwanfloods.

A detailed Breakdown of Needs, in Chinese, is maintained by concerned Taiwanese citizens. The table provides precise contact information and the specific nature of aid being requested in each area.

The Democratic Progressive Party hosts a that provides contact information for support centres in Chinese and donation information in both Chinese and English.

World Vision Taiwan, a Christian charity organisation, seeks 'relief resources, rescue cars and volunteers.' Details are available at the web site.

The Dharma Drum Mountain Zen Buddhist monastery seeks volunteers to help clean flooded homes.
Telephone: 02.2895.8300

Dharma Drum Mountain's call for volunteers.

Financial Assistance

Tzu Chi Foundation , Taiwan's largest charity, is collecting donations for Relief for Victims of Typhoon Morakot. The organisation is building up to 1,000 'green' homes for families who have lost their homes. Donations may be made at the site through Google or PayPal.

The Democratic Progressive Party has set up a special fund set up for disaster victims. The English-language blog features a widget for the DPP Typhoon Morakot Disaster Relief Fund at the upper right.

United Way Taiwan allows online contributions allocated specifically to typhoon victims.

World Vision Taiwan has a special donation page for Typhoon Morakot help. Phone and e-mail contacts are provided.

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan requests checks payable to The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Specify 'Attention: typhoon relief.' Contributions may also be made by direct deposit and wire transfer.

Taiwanese American Association-USA Donation Drive requests donations to TAA-USA, Attention: Typhoon Morakot Donation Drive. Send contributions to:
Mrs Ling Ling Huang, Treasurer
199 Bluejay Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43235
Telephone: 1.614.888.6501
Taiwan Center in LA requests donations through an online donation form. Financial contributions to the Taiwan Center are tax-deductible. (Tax ID: 95-4679702)

Thanks to Ho-Chie Tsai, Cecilia Ciou, Vivian Tsai, David Reid, Dragonbones, and Melody Hsiao. Also to their colleagues at Taiwan Ho!, Facebook, and the Taiwanese-American Association.


Conductor's Notebook

Typhoon Morakot

Morakot, a vast, slow-moving tropical storm packing heavy rains, blew through Taiwan on August 8 Saturday. The record-breaking volume of water it dropped on the island, 2.5 meters (100 inches), was the highest in five decades. Southern areas of the island encountered more rainfall in one day than they normally absorb in one year. The result has been colossal flooding in central and southern areas from Taiwan. The storm has left a trail of devastation in both coastal and mountain areas. This morning rivers continue to erode their banks, bridges and roads remain out, and homes lie buried in mudslides or vanished in floods. Rescue workers struggle to locate the missing as the vast toll taken by the storm on human life and property is assessed.

At the end of the weekend the Taipei Times had this report (italics mine):

The highest accumulated rainfall from Morakot as of [Sunday] was in Alishan, which had received 2,654mm of rain. The weather bureau estimated that mountainous areas in Chiayi County would receive an accumulated 2,900mm of rain, while mountains in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties would see 2,700mm of rain and Nantou and Tainan counties 2,200mm. Rainfall on Friday and Saturday alone in Kaohsiung City and County and Pingtung County was around the annual average in those areas. Average annual rainfall in Hengchun (恆春), Pingtung County, for example, is 2,017mm.


In Tainan City and County, running water was disconnected to 280,000 homes because the county’s Nanhua Reservoir (南化) had been contaminated as a result of the rains.

Also in Tainan County, the banks of the Tsengwen River (曾文溪) collapsed in several areas, flooding townships including Shanhua (善化), Jente (仁德), Yongkang (永康), Tanei (大內), Guantien (官田), Houbi (後壁) and Beimen (北門). Flooding in some of the townships was three stories deep.

Morakot’s rains have also wreaked havoc on public transportation and infrastructure, with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications reporting 123 damaged sections of road as of 6pm yesterday. Twenty bridges, including the Dajin (大津) and Liukuei (六龜) bridges on Provincial Highway 27, Shuangyuan Bridge (雙園大橋) on Highway 17, Sinciwei (新旗尾) and Mingtzu bridges (民族) on Highway 21, No. 1 Bridge on Highway 24 and Ciwei Bridge (旗尾橋) on Highway 28, were either damaged or washed away.... Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) express trains along the west coast could not go south of Chiayi yesterday because of the floods in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties. The TRA also suspended services on the South Link (南迴鐵路) because of flooding in Taitung’s Taimali Township and Pingtung’s Linbian Township (林邊). TRA trains on the east coast had to stop at Chishang (池上) in Taitung County after the Luyeh River (鹿野溪) broke its banks, preventing them from continuing on to Taitung City.


Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said at a city government meeting that 81 officials, 24 lifeboats and three ambulances were headed to Tungkang (東港), Kanding (崁頂) and Chiatung (佳冬) townships in Pingtung County, and Cishan Township (旗山) in Kaohsiung County as of 10am yesterday, adding that five lifeboats would also be dispatched to Tainan. The city’s Social Affairs Bureau had also arranged for food, drinking water and thousands of towels and sleeping bags to be sent to flood victims, Chen said.

The Kaohsiung City Government [has] created an emergency response center to accept donations of necessities such as water, food, medicine and flashlights for flood victims across the south. Those who wish to donate items can contact the center at (886) 7 337 3375 or deliver items to Kaohsiung City Hall at No. 2 Sihwei 3rd Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City.

The Taiwan press reports that a mudslide has buried a village in Kaohsiung County, possibly trapping hundreds of residents. (The name of the community is Romanised variously as Shao Lin, Xiaolin and Hsiaolin.) Road conditions and severe weather make it difficult for rescue workers to reach the area. Tuesday's Taipei Times:

Hundreds of residents of Xiaolin Village (小林), Kaohsiung County, were still missing yesterday after landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot devastated the area. Rescuers said yesterday morning that at least 180 residents out of around 600 had survived the mudslides. Another 76 had been moved to safety as of yesterday afternoon.

One of the survivors, Lin Chien-chung (林建忠), told cable news channels that the village had been wiped out, including Xiaolin Elementary School, Chunghwa Telecom communications equipment and the health center. Lin said he feared most of the 600 residents had been buried alive.

The emergency center said that Liukuei Township’s (六龜) Tsaonan (草南) and Chunghsing (中興) villages were also feared destroyed by mudslides or floods. Reports had yet to be verified, the center said.

The Taiwan News described the situation as viewed by satellite cameras (images appeared a day later in the Taipei Times):

One of the most stunning images obtained by the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research (CSRSR) under National Central University was the explosive expansion of the Taimali River in Taitung. The images showed that the upper stream of the river, which originally was barely more than 10 meters wide, spread to more than 800 meters as large amounts of mud were washed down the mountain by heavy rainfall.

Chang Chung-pai, an associate professor at the center, said the mudslides observed in this typhoon have been the largest on record both in terms of length and scale.

The eye of Typhoon Morakot left Taiwan on Saturday evening and made landfall in China on Sunday. On the same day residents of Japan faced deadly flash floods from Typhoon Etau, a storm brewed in the northwest Pacific.

Links to detailed news reports appear below. I will keep this list updated as events progress.
BBC: Deadly Storms sweep eastern Asia, 2009.08.10
Taipei Times: Downpour continues to pummel south, 2009.08.10
Taipei Times
: Twenty-three dead in wake of Morakot, 2009.08.11

Taipei Times
: Hundreds missing after Xiaolin mudslides, 2009.08.11

Taiwan News
: Rescue efforts intensify across southern Taiwan, 2009.08.11

Taiwan News
: Typhoon relief helicopter crashes in Taiwan's mountains, 2009.08.11

Taipei Times: Aid workers race against time; 700 found in Xiaolin, 2009.08.12
BBC: Washed away by the typhoon, 2009.08.12
Taipei Times: Survivors tell of narrow escapes and landslides, 2009.08.12
Taipei Times: Satellite images show power of natural forces, 2009.08.13
Wall Street Journal: Outcry grows in Taiwan as death toll rises, 2009.08.13
Taipei Times: Ire over government rejection of foreign help, 2009.08.13
BBC: In Pictures, Taiwan's misery, 2009.08.14
BBC: 'Devil' typhoon leaves Taiwan reeling, 2009.08.14
BBC: Hopes fade for Taiwan survivors, 2009.08.14
Wall Street Journal: With a roar, a mountain buries a village, 2009.08.15
Taipei Times: Foreign aid pours in after government eases restrictions, 2009.08.16
Taipei Times: Friends, families hold rituals for Morakot victims, 2009.08.16
Taipei Times: Experts call on government to ban risky towns, 2009.08.16
Taiwan News: U.S. sends heavy-duty choppers to Taiwan for relief work, 2009.08.17
Taiwan Headlines: Tzu Chi Foundation to build 'green' houses for typhoon victims, 2009.08.20-21
New York Times: Taiwan's president faces anger over storm response, 2009.08.23
Wall Street Journal: Dalai Lama holds services for victims, 2009.08.31
Taiwan News: Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy, 2009.09.01
Video: The Dalai Lama's speech in Taiwan (in English, Chinese translation), 2009.09.01
Taipei Times: Dalai Lama moves thousands at ceremony, 2009.09.02
Taiwan Headlines: Dalai Lama contributes US$50,000 in aid, 2009.09.02
Taiwan Headlines: National mourning ceremony for typhoon victims set for Monday, 2009.09.04
New York Times: Prime minister of Taiwan quits over typhoon response, 2009.09.08

A compelling photo story by Alan Taylor has been assembled for the Boston Globe from a variety of sources. The images give a sense of the conditions now being faced by residents of Taiwan and the coastal areas of south China.

This excerpt from Taiwanese television shows a hot spring resort area in Taitung County located at a bend in the Jhihben River. The swollen river eroded its banks, washing away buildings and felling the the six-story Jinshuai Hotel.


Conductor's Notebook


Typhoon Arrival

Images from Taiwan's north coast as Typhoon Morakot approached on Friday.


arrival of the typhoon


Jiufen, Taiwan
台灣 九份

©Alton Thompson 唐博敦


Conductor's Notebook