《TAIPEI TIMES》Taipei, Canberra in communication on providing relief aid
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been communicating with Canberra about Australia’s needs for relief aid amid massive bushfires, and its preliminary plan is to donate about 100,000 surgical masks, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou （歐江安） said yesterday.
The bushfires continue to rage across southeast Australia, killing scores of animals and causing serious damage to property, Ou told a news briefing in Taipei, adding that people traveling to the country should beware of air pollution.
Asked what aid Taiwan would provide to Australia, she said that the government plans to donate 100,000 masks, but added that the exact number and type have not been confirmed, as it is still gathering information about the country’s needs.
As masks are considered medical products in Australia, the ministry would need to follow local regulations when making the donation, she said.
The Australian Office in Taipei has also provided a list of several organizations that could receive donations for the bushfires, she added.
In related news, the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs said that the ministry would donate 20,200 tonnes of rice to Haiti, up from 8,600 tonnes donated last year, as the Caribbean ally faces a food crisis amid social unrest.
After filing an application with the Council of Agriculture, the ministry would next month arrange the shipment of rice to the island country, department Deputy Director-General Silvia Liu （劉聿綺） said.
Due to an ongoing conflict between its ruling and opposition parties, the Haitian parliament on Monday stopped operations and the country’s affairs are being temporarily run by administrative orders, she said.