Taiwan Embassy Sends Aid

Taiwan Embassy Sends Aid for Tornado Recovery

With Virginia and Washington County still waiting to hear whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency will send money to help with tornado recovery, a foreign government has sent help.

In a ceremony planned for this morning, the small island nation of Taiwan is contributing $20,000 to the United Way to help with the rebuilding effort, said Delegate Joe Johnson, D-Abingdon.

He said he got a call from the Taiwanese embassy just a few days after the April 28 tornadoes devastated areas of Washington and Smyth counties, offering to help. The call first came to the office of Delegate Jim Shuler, D-Blacksburg, who traveled to Taiwan on a trade mission last year.

“It’s just real heartwarming that Taiwan, the little country of Taiwan, would be willing to put up funds for disaster relief,” Johnson said, adding that a little goodwill from Americans can go a long way.

At FEMA’s offices for Region 3, which covers Virginia along with four other states and the District of Columbia, External Affairs Specialist Nick Morici said the agency is doing its due diligence to do what’s good for Virginia.

“The two are not related,” Morici said of the Taiwan announcement and FEMA’s decision on whether to provide disaster relief in response to Virginia’s appeal of the agency’s initial denial.

“We are still under review,” he said, “and when the review process is complete, we will get back first to the governor of Virginia.”  Dulcie Mumpower, chairwoman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, said Tuesday she is hopeful FEMA will change its mind.

“I hope FEMA will come forward and do what is right by people here in Washington County and approve our appeal so that our people can receive added assistance,” she said.

Source: Deborah Mccown - Bristol Hearald Courier