The world of Tzu Chi May 2021 (Vol.134)

2021 • 05 34 By Yeh Tzu-hao Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting Photos by Hsiao Yiu-hwa pecial Feature In April 2021, a train derailment in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, brought 49 lives to an abrupt end and broke the hearts of people across the island. The tragedy was Taiwan ’ s deadliest rail accident in decades. Tzu Chi volunteers mobilized to provide help, support and warmth to hurting people. Comfort and Care in Action Tzu Chi Responds to Taiwan’s Train Crash A t 9:28 a.m. on April 2, 2021, an eight- car Taroko Express train operated by the Taiwan Railways Administration slammed into a construction truck that had slipped down a slope into the path of the train. The accident occurred in Xiulin Township, Hualien, eastern Taiwan. The train, travelling at more than 120 km per hour (75 mph) at the time of the accident, derailed just as it was entering Qingshui Tunnel. Of the 498 people on board, 49 were killed and 218 were injured. The accident occurred at the start of a four-day-long holiday weekend because of the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. This is a traditional time when families come together to visit and clean the tombs of their deceased family members. Many residents in eastern Taiwan were thus waiting for their family members working or living elsewhere to return home that weekend. Sadly, instead of being reunited with their family, some received the tragic news they would never see their loved ones again. “As soon as news of the accident broke, I posted a message in our group chat asking everyone to get ready and stand by for further notification,” said Tzu Chi volunteer Fan Lei, who lives in Hualien. At around 11 a.m., volunteers broke into two teams—one went to the disaster scene to learn more about the situation and to comfort those who had been evacuated from the train wreckage; the other went to the local Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall and began transporting tents, folding beds, partitions and other items to the crash site and to Chongde and Xincheng Train Stations. Injured and deceased people were being taken to the two train stations pending transfer to other places. At the same time, Dharma Masters at the Jing Si Abode began preparing boxed lunches for rescue personnel working on the front lines. “We set up a command centre for the train accident a little after 11,” said Lu Hsueh- cheng, who leads the Disaster Reduction and Prevention Section at Tzu Chi’s Department of Charity Mission Development. “Around noon, we sent out more than 500 packed lunches.” A medical team led by Dr. Lin Chin- lon, CEO of the Tzu Chi Medical Mission, also rushed to the disaster scene to provide first aid services. Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, anticipating a huge influx of patients from the accident, issued Red Alert No. 9