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March 30, 2017

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Flags flying at half-mast to mourn explosions, air crash

TAIPEI--Government agencies across the country began flying their flags at half-mast Tuesday in mourning for the victims of last week's explosions in Kaohsiung and the plane crash in Penghu a week earlier.

Flags at the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government buildings will fly at half-mast for a total of three days.

At the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Taipei, flags of the Republic of China and seven other countries are also at half-mast. The seven flags of diplomatic allies — Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, Belize, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands — are flying in front of the ministry because high-level officials from those countries are currently visiting Taiwan, the ministry said.

The gas explosions ripped through Kaohsiung on July 31 just before midnight, killing 28 people and injuring over 300.

It followed just one week after the crash of a TransAsia Airways flight in the outlying island county of Penghu on July 23 that left 48 of the 58 people on board dead.

Flags previously flew at half-mast in September 1999, following a massive earthquake in Central Taiwan that killed more than 2,400 people, and again in August 2009, after 681 lives were lost and 18 went missing in landslides and floods caused by Typhoon Morakot.

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