Jets lift life-saving aid materials to Sichuan
The China Post news staff
May 16, 2008, 12:00 am TWN
In response to criticisms, Chen said the MAC could not allow Air Macau to go as a "direct" cross-strait charter flight because of the terms of an accord signed between Taiwan and China.
The pact stipulates that only carriers based in Taiwan and China are eligible to make "direct" cross-strait charter flights in cases of emergency, and this is the reason why Air Macau was not permitted to carry the emergency aid supplies directly from Taiwan to Sichuan, Chen insisted.
Chiang said the flight was on a life-saving mission that should not be delayed any minute — just like fire engines or ambulances that should be given top priority by surrounding traffic.
A relief team of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi foundation said the devastated areas in Sichuan is still "in chaos" and need more relief materials, over three days after the earthquake.
The delegation, comprising 16 Tzu Chi volunteers from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Fujian in China, set off for Sichuan immediately after the earthquake occurred Monday to monitor the damage and conduct basic relief work.
Tzu Chi commissioner Hsueh Ming-ren said the team has started setting up an "advance operations base" to start relief work immediately.
The team were joined by more volunteers last night and rescue teams will leave Taiwan today.
An additional 8,000 blankets will also be sent by Philippine Airlines from Manila to Chengdu tomorrow and next Wednesday.
According to the latest information, the Tzu Chi advance team has been unable to get to Wenchuan, the quake's epicenter, due to a disruption of transport.