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Telethon raises NT$56 million in aid for Kaohsiung tragedy

TAIPEI -- A telethon featuring local singers and actresses raised more than 56 million (US$1.86 million) for the ongoing relief operation in Kaohsiung, areas of which were devastated by a series of explosions on July 31.

The four-hour telethon, staged jointly by Taiwan's Association of Terrestrial Televison Networks, TTV, CTV, FTV and Satellite Televsion Broadcasting Assocaition, began at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Taipei studio of the Taiwan Public Television Service.

Well-known pop singers Fei Yu-ching, Julie Sue and others performed, while well-known singers acted as telephone operators to accept donations made by viewers.

Singer Nicky Wu returned from China to perform in the telethon, and brought NT$1 million donated by his friends.

Judy Ongg, a Taiwan-born Japanese actress, also appeared at the telethon, leading a group of entertainers in singing “The Prayer”.

The actress donated one of her wood prints, which was bought by a local business tycoon at the telethon for NT$1 million.

Another singer, Jam Hsiao, sang 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” at the telethon, which ended at midnight, though donations continued being called in until early Sunday morning.

The donated NT$56.19 million will go to the Kaohsiung City government for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction work.

The July 31 explosions, caused by leaking underground propylene pipes in Kaohsiung, killed 30 and injured more than 300. The explosion ripped through downtown roads in Cianjhen District in the southern Taiwan city.

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