Thanks to warm support from all over the world,
Kaohsiung will be strong!
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
◎Photos courtesy of Kaohsiung City Government
Kaohsiung recently suffered its most serious gas explosions in half a century. Following the disaster, support from other countries and territories poured in. Every county and city in Taiwan also contributed to rescue efforts. Over 12,000 military personnel were dispatched to help search for survivors and restore basic services. Volunteers took care of survivors and artists composed songs for Kaohsiung. Everyone offered to help, giving Kaohsiung warmth, strength, and full support. Love goes beyond borders. As soon as they heard about the explosions, mayors and representatives from Kaohsiung's sister cities and twin towns got in touch with Kaohsiung City Government to express their thoughts and deepest condolences.
Governor Kabashima Ikuo and Deputy Speaker Shigemura Sakae of Kumamoto Prefectural Government in Japan, together with the representatives from the government and council, visited Kaohsiung on August 21. They hand-delivered a donation of 8.08 million yen (equal to NT$2.28 million or US$76,000) from Kumamoto Prefecture and expressed their sincerest sympathies. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, saying friends are best found in adversity, expressed deep appreciation for Kumamoto Government's support and was very touched by its friendship.
When the explosions happened, a group of teenagers from Kumamoto Prefecture were visiting Kaohsiung. A 12 year-old girl, Miss Ishihashi Rina, recalled that people from Kaohsiung offered tremendous support when Japan suffered an earthquake/tsunami disaster on March 3, 2011. Therefore, she decided to donate half her 10,000-yen travel expenses to help Kaohsiung. To express Kaohsiung's appreciation to Miss Ishihashi, Mayor Chen asked Governor Kabashima to bring her a framed news piece that reported her generous donation, along with a backpack bearing the words "Citizen of Kaohsiung."
Vice President of the Sendai International Relations Association, Mr. Mori Syuichi, also led a group of delegates to visit Kaohsiung on August 29. Their first stop was Kaohsiung City Government, where Mr. Mori conveyed warm regards from Sendai and contributed 315,000 yen (about NT$89,000 or almost US$3,000) raised by Sendai residents.
One of Kaohsiung's sister cities, Hachioji City, was also very concerned about the disaster. At the time of the explosions, the city was hosting its biggest festival of the year, the Hachioji Matsuri. The city's mayor and speaker led departmental leaders to organize a fund-raising event at the festival. Donation boxes were set up in Hachioji City Hall and other places and a total of 2.066 million yen (NT$583,000 or USD$19,500) was collected. Also, people in Kaga City showed their sympathy by generously donating 2.19 million yen (NT$618,000 or US$20,600).
The Japanese Association in Kaohsiung, a group established by Japanese migrants and Japanese businessmen, was second to none when it came to making donations. The association contributed NT$6.9 million, and expressed hope that Kaohsiung's effected neighborhoods can be restored as quickly as possible.
Mayor Chen stated that Kaohsiung will keep moving forward and continue to improve. The city will stay strong now and forever. She hopes everyone can support Kaohsiung!