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Morakot survivors to visit Japan for benefit performances

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taivoan Dance Theatre (大滿舞團) — formed by the Xiaolin villagers whose village was destroyed by Typhoon Morakot in 2009 — is slated to visit Japan on July 17 for a charity performances.

Typhoon Morakot dumped an unprecedented amount of rain in a short period of time on southern Taiwan on Aug. 8, 2009. The rain triggered landslides that buried the Xiaolin village near Kaohsiung and caused the deaths of 462 people.

Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川), CEO of the Cabinet's Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council, yesterday told a press conference that the Japanese made great efforts in supporting the Xiaolin villagers rebuilding their homes. Chern said that after the villagers gradually got back on their feet again after the disaster, they decided to go to the Yamada Town of Shimohei District in Japan — a town that was struck by the earthquakes and tsunami in 2011.

Chern further said that the Taivoan Dance Theatre spent the last three years raising the funds necessary for the trip to Japan by performing dances around Taiwan, noting that the visit to Japan not only represents the rebirth of Xiaolin Village, but also means that the villagers are capable of helping others.

Taivoan Dance Theatre leader Wang Min-liang (王民亮) said the total cost of the Japan trip is NT$1 million, noting that the money was raised through countless performances across the island over the past three years.

“We've lost a lot because of the typhoon ..., we hope our benefit performances will inspire the Japanese to rise from the ashes again,” Wang said.

During the press conference, one of the dance troupe members, Hsu Ming-chun (徐銘駿) choked on tears for over one minute before he was able to speak. Hsu said it has been five years since the tragedy. He said most of the people may think that the houses and facilities have been rebuilt, but “the home in our hearts have not been rebuilt yet.”

Hsu said his dance troupe wants to visit Japan because they understand how painful devastating tragedy can be, adding that his troupe members hope the story of how they bravely got back on their feet again can encourage the survivors of the March 11 earthquakes in Japan.

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