Kaohsiung, May 3 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou lauded Taiwan's overseas post-disaster reconstruction projects Thursday, saying the experience of Typhoon Morakot in August 2009 has helped Taiwan become a valued humanitarian relief provider in the international community.
Speaking on the first day of a conference on post-Morakot reconstruction work, Ma said the lessons learned from the typhoon have allowed Taiwan to make valuable contributions abroad, as shown by humanitarian relief efforts launched after its Caribbean ally of Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2010.
During the reconstruction process in Taiwan, the public and private sectors collaborated closely to help survivors of the worst flooding in 50 years rebuild their homes, Ma said, adding that Taiwan should offer more assistance to others around the world whenever possible.
Citing the new permanent housing units at Siaolin Village in southern Taiwan as an example, Ma said close cooperation between the legislative and administrative branches of the government, the private and public sectors, as well as the central and local governments, were the key factors that resulted in successful projects, Ma said.
A total of 3,191 permanent housing units in 35 areas have now been completed under collaborative projects between public and private groups, said Chern Jenn-chuan, CEO of the Cabinet's Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council.
Also speaking at the event was Hajime Okamura, president of Kochi University of Technology in Japan, who recently returned from a visit to villages in the affected area.
The visiting engineering expert complimented Taiwan on its reconstruction achievements, praising the government for the efficiency with which it relocated people after the typhoon struck.
Some 400 participants from 18 countries are taking part in the two-day meeting, during which 166 academic papers relating to post-disaster reconstruction works are scheduled to be released.
(By Chang Che-fon and Hanna Liu)