Train crash victim families could get NT$15 million from donations

04/16/2021 09:33 PM
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A tent is set up in Taitung for a public memorial service to be held on Saturday for victims in the April 2 train accident. CNA photo April 16, 2021
A tent is set up in Taitung for a public memorial service to be held on Saturday for victims in the April 2 train accident. CNA photo April 16, 2021

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) The families of the 49 people who died in a train accident in eastern Taiwan on April 2 could each receive NT$15 million (US$524,475) from a total of NT$1.06 billion collected by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in donations for the crash victims.

The decision was made during a ministry meeting Friday and was announced by Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), a day after the donation campaign came to an end, though Chen said the amounts were rough calculations and could still be changed.

Aside from the amount going to the families of the dead, roughly NT$120 million will go toward a trust fund to cover the education costs of students injured in the crash and young children of parents who died, until they graduate from college, Chen said.

Also, each injured passenger will receive an amount ranging from NT$100,000 to NT$7 million depending on the extent of their injuries, while passengers who were not injured will be given NT$10,000 each to account for their psychological trauma, he said.

The accident occurred when a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Taroko express train carrying nearly 500 passengers hit a truck that fell from a slope above the track and derailed in a tunnel in Hualien County, killing 49 people and injuring about 200.

The donation campaign was launched the following day.

Chen said the amounts were rough calculations and not yet finalized, and indicated the ministry will discuss further details in a meeting next Thursday, after social workers visit the victims and their families for suggestions.

Asked how the amounts announced Friday were arrived at, Chen said the ministry first figured the amount needed for the education trust fund and then the amount to be distributed to injured passengers, before dividing the balance evenly among the families of the deceased.

He said the money distributed from the donations will be kept separate from any legal compensation to be paid by the government or other parties involved.

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Emerson Lim)

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