Shortly after hearing the news of the 6.4 earthquake in Taiwan, Bishop Rickel reached out to the bishop of the Diocese of Taiwan, Bishop David Lai. Bishop Lai shared the following report. Please keep Bishop Lai and all our fellow Taiwanese Episcopalians in your prayers as they recover and serve their fellow sisters and brothers in their recovery.
Thank you all for your concern about the Hualien earthquake on Taiwan’s east coast.
This is my update on the situation, as follows:
Please pray for Hualien on the Taiwan’s east coast, epicenter of Tuesday night’s 6.4 earthquake, which saw the collapse of 4 high-rise buildings and much damage to local infrastructure and buildings.
The Taiwan Episcopal Church has one church in Hualien, St. Luke’s Church. The vicar, Rev. Joseph M. L. Wu posted photos of the damage to the building, and those photos have been shared internationally via Facebook. The church altar table, made of glass, was completely destroyed in the earthquake, and many of the interior furnishings were also badly damaged. Like many church buildings in Taiwan, the church is actually the ground floor of a high building, with apartments above. Fortunately, the building did not sustain any structural damage.
All church members are reported as safe, but many with damage to their homes and businesses, and of course shock and concern about ongoing aftershocks. Mr. Yang, chair of the St. Luke’s Church council, runs a guest house in Hualien directly opposite the multi-story Marshal Hotel, which collapsed in the earthquake, yet his building only sustained minor damage in comparison. Power and water cuts are an ongoing problem, and drinking water is in very short supply.
Yesterday I authorized the transfer of an initial NT$ 200,000 (US$ 6,850) to St. Luke’s Church for repair work, and I have written to all our church members throughout Taiwan asking them to donate to St. Luke’s Church for relief and repairs. On talking to Rev. Joseph Wu today, he reports that the church is already cleaned up, and repairs are starting. He also says that money donated by our churches in Taiwan or overseas will be used in possible relief work in the local community, but all relief will be done in and through cooperation with the Chinese Christian Relief Association (中華基督教救助協會) in Hualien, who are on the ground with experts and resources in place, and are coordinating relief ministry in that area. Joseph is still in the process of getting in touch with them and offering his help. If we have any specific further needs, we will be in touch further.
Your prayers are much appreciated. Thank you.
Yours in His service,
Bishop David J. H. Lai