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Press Release

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Activates Search and Rescue Operations for Earthquake Relief in Taiwan

PR9947E | Date: 1999-09-22

Washington, D.C. -- A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.6 occurred in central Taiwan at 1:47 A.M., Sept. 21 local time in Taiwan. The epicenter is approximately 35 miles west-southwest of Hua-lien, Taiwan or about 90 miles south-southwest of Taipei, Taiwan.

In response to a request from the Taiwan authorities through the American Institute in Taiwan for disaster assistance, USAID activated the Fairfax County Search and Rescue Team as well as members from Miami-Dade Search and Rescue early Monday evening. A USAID-chartered 737 departed for Taiwan at 2:40 a.m. EST Tuesday with a total of 19 people including technical personnel from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Miami-Dade Search and Rescue. This team will coordinate the arrival of the search and rescue team and all technical and logistical needs on the ground.

This morning, a team of 73 persons composed of technical experts from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Fairfax Search and Rescue departed from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for Tai-chung. The C-5 aircraft is carrying personnel and 106,000 pounds of equipment including three vehicles and four search and rescue dogs.

USAID will fund the transportation of both Search and Rescue Teams and emergency equipment at an estimated value of US$2.3 million.

The State Department's Taiwan Coordination Staff is in regular contact with the American Institute of Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, D.C. USAID will continue to work with the State Department and AIT and continue to monitor and evaluate the situation in order to provide additional assistance as needed.