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New strength is born on the Eve of the 10th Anniversary of the 1999 Chi-chi Eearthquake

Based on seismic data gathered since 1897, Taiwan would experience an earthquake with a magnitude of six to seven on the Richter scale every 10 years. Thus, it is of crucial importance that we improve anti-quake technologies and instill the awareness of earthquake preparedness in the minds of Taiwanese people. This year, the 10th anniversary of the 921 Chi-chi earthquake, we, the Relief Disaster Foundation, decided to present a report to Premier Liu Chao-shiuan on our plans to establish the 921 Online Museum.  According to our plan, the website will convey to the general public how people in the earthquake-hit areas survived and reopened themselves to new life, with the help of various corporations and non-governmental organizations such as the Tzu Chi Foundation, the Buddha's Light International Association, the Red Cross Society, the Formosa Plastics Group, and the Pou Chen Group. In addition, the 921 Online Museum will not only be able to promote adequate earthquake protection measures to the general public, it will also integrate with government policy to facilitate tourism in these areas by introducing to the public the earthquake rehabilitation efforts and locally-grown produce.


When Premier Liu convened the preparatory commission for the 10th anniversary for the first time on February 25, 2009, he pointed out that the activities in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 1999 Chi-chi earthquake should maintain the theme "Handing down life experience, starting from the heart." He also explained that the “heart”meant  humbleness, love, dedication, resolve, and a steady pace.  He has confidence that the government will be able to address the challenges brought by natural disasters and financial crises, to cross the boundaries of race and partisan interests, to wholeheartedly care about those who suffered from disasters, and to learn from the past to rediscover Taiwan's core values.


Frank Fan, chairperson of the Public Construction Commission of the Executive Yuan as well as president of the Relief Disaster Foundation , said that although the earthquake brought enormous damage to Taiwan 10 years ago, the government, charity foundations, private companies, individuals, and the people in disastrous areas have cooperated to carry out the recovery efforts. Fan said that by now, the hard-hit areas have been restored and people have gained new hope. To enhance the theme--- "Handing down life experience, starting from the heart," the foundation and the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan have initiated the project to establish the 921 Online Museum.


Fan said he hoped that the online museum can be an information platform for government agencies and the private sector. Meanwhile, the online museum will be a database that presents to the public all valuable documentation, government efforts, the process of rehabilitation, the current status of the disaster areas, and various government departments' relevant activities. Furthermore, he hoped that the museum can provide an educational function by helping more members of the public understand earthquakes, and learn the proper response to earthquakes, so that casualties and damage to property can be minimized in future earthquakes.


Fan revealed that the new online museum will also have a bulletin board, allowing citizens to share their ideas, feelings, and experience with post-earthquake reconstruction. Meanwhile, anyone who finds the foundation's or government's efforts dissatisfactory will also be able to post their complaints at the online museum.


Also in the museum are travel guides for the disaster areas. Fan noted that these areas are no longer the places they once were. They are now areas that can provide profound joy for tourists. In this manner, Fan said he hoped that the website can eventually promote these areas' tourism attractions to a wider audience.


The report to the premier was highly praised by all attendants at the meeting, and the foundation will step up its pace to complete the website.