German search and rescue NGOs join Taichung INGO center
Taipei, March 13 (CNA) Two German search and rescue NGOs became the first to establish branches at the international NGO (INGO) center in Taichung on Monday.
The two NGOs, the Bundesverband Rettungshunde e.V. (German Search and Rescue Dog Association) and I.S.A.R. Germany (International Search and Rescue Germany) officially opened branch offices at the INGO center in the central city's Wufeng District during an opening ceremony held on Monday and presided over by Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁).
The opening of the two NGO's branch offices, which will specialize in the training of rescue dogs and search and rescue teams, is expected to boost Taiwan's capabilities in those areas, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) statement.
According to Taiwan's representative office in Munich, the Taichung branch of the German Search and Rescue Dog Association is the first outside Germany.
The association has so far trained 714 qualified search and rescue dogs and is currently training another 1,013, according to a representative office statement.
The association has close ties to Taiwan and previously invited the Ministry of Interior's (MOI's) Special Search and Rescue Team to Germany for joint training in 2016.
It also signed MOUs with the Taichung city government and the ministry in 2017 and sent experts to train local rescue dogs in the same year.
The association helped to train "Tie-hsiung" (鐵雄) or "Iron Hero," during its 2017 visit to Taichung.
The four-year-old Labrador has since become a household name in Taiwan after he helped save several lives during the magnitude 6 Hualien earthquake on Feb. 6 that left 17 dead and 285 injured.
During Monday's ceremony, Vice President Chen also named Tie-hsiung "Taichung City Ambassador" in recognition of his post-quake heroics.
Meanwhile, I.S.A.R. Germany has been sanctioned by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to conduct rescue mission overseas.
The two NGO's offices will be able to send supplies and rescue equipment to affected areas quicker and to assist German rescue teams in the event of emergency relief work in Asia that requires search and rescue dogs and teams, according to the office statement.
Such cooperation will also boost Taiwan's rescue and search mission capabilities and the nation's international visibility, said the statement.
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