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Australian scholar hails Taiwan's post-Morakot reconstruction work

2012/05/08 21:46:53

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) An Australian scholar who visited Taiwan last week praised the country's post-Typhoon Morakot reconstruction efforts Monday in a letter addressed to the people of Taiwan.

Arnold Dix, a professor of population mental health and disasters at University of West Sydney, visited permanent housing, places of worship, businesses and farming enterprises in Kaohsiung, one of the areas hardest hit by the 2009 typhoon, which caused Taiwan's worst flooding in 50 years.

In the letter, Dix said his inspection of these communities showed him it was "an excellent example for the World on how to transform disaster into new opportunities and rebirth."

Dix, who was in Taiwan May 2-5, also lauded Taiwan's ability to make effective emergency laws and engage the public and private sectors, as well as non-government organizations (NGOs), in the reconstruction efforts.

Three weeks after the typhoon, Taiwan's Legislature passed the Special Act For Post-Typhoon Morakot Disaster Reconstruction on August 28, 2009 to facilitate the establishment of a council under the Cabinet and provide funds for the rebuilding work.

Among the places Dix visited was an organic farm in Shanlin District in the southern city of Kaohsiung, which was initiated by the Taiwan-based Hon Hai Group, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, the Cabinet's Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council told CNA.

The professor also visited a Shanlin permanent housing complex, a joint project by the government and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, the council said.

Dix also attended a two-day international conference on post-Morakot reconstruction work to mark the third anniversary of the disaster, the council said, adding that the event drew some 400 participants from 17 countries.

Dix said he will share Taiwan's experience with the rest of the world, the council added.

Typhoon Morakot brought torrential rain that triggered flooding and massive landslides in central and southern Taiwan, leaving nearly 700 people dead or missing.

(By Elaine Hou)