Taiwan makes fresh donation to help Vietnamese landmine victims

05/24/2012 07:43 PM
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New York, May 23 (CNA) Taiwan donated a further US$200,000 to a mushroom farming project launched by a U.S.-based nonprofit organization to help improve the livelihoods of Vietnamese landmine victims on Wednesday.

Since 2009, Taiwan has been cooperating with the New York-based Humpty Dumpty Institute on its mushroom farming project, which provides funds, equipment, training and business plans for landmine victims and their families in Quang Tri Province, said Kao Jen-chuan, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, at the donation ceremony.

Taiwan, which is the main sponsor of the program, has aggressively played its role as a member of the international community and will continue doing so, Kao said.

Over the past three years, the project has successfully helped landmine survivors and their families earn additional income by cultivating mushrooms, said William Rouhana, chairman of the institute, which also works to locate unexploded ordnance.

According to the institute, thousands of unexploded bombs and grenades are still buried in the ground throughout Vietnam. Since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, more than 38,000 people have been killed by the leftover explosives.

Rouhana noted that so far the livelihoods of over 150 families in the Southeast Asian country have been improved by the introduction of modern mushroom farming techniques and the creation of a larger market for the sale of mushrooms from the province.

James Lawrence, director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement at the U.S. Department of State who attended the ceremony, said he was pleased to see such collaboration between Taiwan and the U.S.

He added that the U.S. government will donate US$240,000 as part of its own efforts to help victims of the Vietnam War.

(By Leaf Chiang and Hanna Liu) ENDITEM/npw

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