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Taiwan expresses sympathy over Sandy

TAIPEI -- Taiwan has expressed sympathy for the United States, where Hurricane Sandy has wreaked severe damage and claimed dozens of lives, and is mulling ways to offer assistance for post-storm reconstruction, an official said Thursday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering ways to assist the U.S., including making donations toward relief efforts, said ministry spokesman Steve Hsia.

President Ma Ying-jeou also expressed his sympathy for the U.S. Wednesday during a meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, who left for home earlier in the day after a three-day visit to promote bilateral trade and investment.

No deaths or casualties of Taiwanese nationals had so far been reported from storm-hit areas of the U.S., Hsia added.

Sandy brought powerful wind and rain, along with heavy flooding, to northeastern parts of the U.S., with New York City among the hardest-hit areas, according to foreign reports. The U.S. death toll stood at a minimum of 48, many of them killed by falling trees, the reports said.

Sandy left some 6 million homes and businesses in 15 U.S. states still without power Wednesday after it made landfall in New Jersey Oct. 29 and caused power outages that affected more than 8.2 million people on the eastern seaboard, the reports said.

No Taiwanese Student Reported Injured

Meanwhile, the head of the Cultural Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York said yesterday that no severe damage or casualties have been reported by Taiwanese studying in the Greater New York area in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Of the roughly 2,000 Taiwanese students in the region, none were reported injured, said Liu Ching-jen.

Only a few students from New York University and Long Island University, which are located in the major disaster areas, were evacuated from school dormitories due to flooding and moved to friends' places, said Liu.

Through data provided by Taiwanese student associations and the Federation of Taiwanese Student Associations in New York, the office is aware of the students' situations, said Liu.

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