21st September 1999, 1.47am

Note: Information on how to help, and a list of Taiwan clergy contacts follows this message at its end.

The following message and details, which has been updated, was sent to many friends who contacted me by phone and e-mail as they heard the news of the devastating earthquake that shocked Taiwan early Tuesday morning at 1.47am. It lasted about 30 seconds. Originally it was reported as 7.6 and therefore bigger than the earthquake that hit Turkey just last month, but since then its strength was slightly reduced to 7.3 on the Richter Scale.

Thank you so much for your concern. It has been very sad to learn about all the deaths [ 2189 ], injuries [ 8713], buried [ 145 ] and missing [ 12 ] people, cut off [1796] and that number is continually changing. This was the latest as at 24/9. Then there are all their bereaved families, but I am thankful I am still useful. It is a great burden and pain to think about those whose lives have ended in this horror. Now there is an approaching typhoon (passed us by and went to HK instead), and a large dam in the south that has partially collapsed.

On the 23rd I wrote:

I feel normal today as I have electricity at least for the moment. Yesterday I had to buy another phone as my other one works with power only, people were trying to find me and although I stayed put they couldn't ring me. I had thought that the phone lines were dead.

For me it was a little frightening at one point when I thought the ceiling in my apartment was going to crash in on me. But after the initial shake, and swaying that really did shake, I found a torch, and I saw I was OK. The smashing etc. was all above me, in the apartment[s] on the upper floors. I had got up just before the quake as I couldnít sleep and had felt uneasy. I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water and just as I was doing so noticed all the lights in the building opposite going out. I walked out onto the enclosed balcony and thought, oh here we go again with another power black out. In July there had been an island wide cut as the result of a landslide near Tainan in the south. Then I felt the building move and it now pitch black, no its an earthquake! I stopped as I was trying to find my way through the kitchen back to my bedroom. Then I realised the torch was back on the balcony so back I went thinking my feet were going to be cut up with broken glass all over the kitchen. I had only had new glass shelving put in as it really is a very small space. The tradesman had said I could sit on it and it wonít fall but at this moment I was very doubtful and thought the noises I had heard were the shelves shattering, though later I found they were still there. I am now recommending this guy!

I nearly left the flat naked with a torch after the building stopped swaying - I live on the 4th floor of a 14 storey apartment building that is 5 years old- but realised what I was doing. I must put clothes on to die, how silly. Having found my clothes and put on my slippers (as I thought there would be glass everywhere) I went out. My neighbour was sitting in the doorway opposite trying to use his phone, I asked "are you alright?" and said "you must get out". He sat there still fiddling with the phone. On the way down the stairs I saw another person and told them to get out, but she was in no hurry either, and just smiled at me. When I got outside I was surprised that there were only a few people outside!!! Why were they still inside!?

A couple of minutes later I saw the trees in the street garden moving again so I moved away right into the open, and turned on my torch to make sure that I wasn't going to stand on any fallen power lines. Just a few seconds and it all seemed normal again. The 2nd biggest hospital in Taipei is within eyesight and it was in darkness then the lights came on as well as emergency lights around my building but everywhere else itwas pitch black. It was 2am in the morning, it was raining but not cold -Taiwan is never cold! Some fellow residents were there with me and we began to talk. They had come down from the 11th floor.

After a few hours I went back inside and turned on my radio to listen to the short-wave but no news about the earthquake, how come ?!!!! Then I realised it must have been big as everything had really stopped. At about 6.30am the first SW news of the quake broke and I listened carefully as I heard the first reports. My radio finally lost power, itís a big ICOM but batteries are used up fast, so all day until 8:30pm I just waited in my apartment. There was a little damage around the ceiling cornices where the masonry had fallen and some cracks in the walls. Finally the power came on and I made some hasty phone calls and sent out e-mail to those I couldn't reach by phone. I really didn't sleep that night of 21st September. In the morning the power went off again at 7 followed by 2 more aftershocks. The first one happened when I was trying to take a shower. I got out fairly fast and was ready to get out again then it stopped. The second one happened as I tried to eat a little breakfast and this one was bigger and the furniture moved. The power stayed off until 9 p.m.

Since Wednesday evening the power has stayed on but it could go off any time. In two successive spells it was off for about a total of 24hours.

A good friend of mine is a neurosurgeon in Taipei and he has gone to Nantou which is south and in the middle of the island at the epicentre. He was a little distressed when he rang: lots of deaths, many injuries and much damage. He has since sent me a rather distressing message about his frustration at the lack of coordination in the rescue work. Another parishioner's brother spent the days identifying bodies.

However, all the people I know are OK and so are their families but they are very scared and some very upset as they are still trying to find relatives and friends. We are all waiting for the aftershocks to come.

Yesterday, Wednesday, there was panic buying in the shops so no more bread and batteries or fresh food. Tin diet coming up. All fresh food was wasted because of the long power cuts.

Last night 2 of my people who live out of Taipei near the main damaged area in the big science park (one a computer scientist and the other a linguist) decided to spend the night outside rather than risk staying indoors. They had felt very scared because of the huge aftershocks. In fact about 3 weeks ago I had visited them and they had told me they had been moved out of their university building as it had been found to be unsafe against earthquakes! I had asked them: oh, so there is an earthquake coming?

I have only left my building once in the first two days to check in at church and to buy an electric phone. My phone which is an answer /fax phone needs power, but I have found that the phone line works without this. The traffic is small and there are not many people around my building which is silent, it seems like every one has gone, but where?

Surprisingly the people around seem very calm, you could hardly tell or know that there has been a major disaster. There is no rushing or panic just quiet.

I've taken some time with this message as I am sending it on to others. I had kept my first e-mails to "I am OK", as I didnít know any details and I donít own a TV so radio and the local English newspaper which I normally donít buy have become my main sources for keeping informed.

Thank you again very much for your concern and I will be in touch soon. Probably by next Monday after this Sunday Service I will have a better idea of how to respond to you properly. I have contacted all the parishes around, the one in Taichung, south of Taipei is in the area that has suffered worst.

In Taipei a couple of buildings including a 12 storey hotel/residential building collapsed. People have been killed and injured and some buried -- what a thought! The aftershocks have severely damaged many others in the centre. Some are very unsafe. I am sure there are more places damaged, the local English papers have some dramatically sad and horrific photographs.

Today is Friday. I have awoken after a good sleep. It is a holiday here today so it is indeed very quiet but power is on again. The president has declared a period of mourning for the next three days.

What is also unfolding is a story of shoddy buildings and unpreparedness. It is another sadness for ordinary folk to face. Bureaucratic bungling, a regular feature in world culture. Already a builder has been arrested because of his work. You are left wondering though, where are and who are others? As the days go on there will be more such stories.

Last night there was another shock but there have actually been more than 4000! However, you only feel them when they are above a certain magnitude, and this one I did feel, the building moved. I think I now realise why I have been a little dizzy as my body feels the movement but my active conscious mind doesn't, a bit like being on a long distance flight.

In regard to power, many don't have this, especially in the devastated areas where there is chaos. Many people are homeless, the reports say 100,000 but who knows really. I had been to the epicentre in January and had a photo taken of me at a the railway station in Nantou which is an historical and tourist place which is now flattened.

I am scheduled to preach at this Sunday at the combined service, so I will send that sermon along later.

I hope also to have some appeal information by then to pass on as well. I'll be in touch.

Please keep the peoples of Taiwan in your prayers, God Bless you for your concern.


Post Script - A Real Miracle
This was how a Korean rescue worker described a six year old boy and his 4 month old sister after being rescued in a collapsed Taichung building for almost 90 hours.

Rescue teams from Japan, Russia, USA, Switzerland, Korean, Australia and many other countries are here actively helping.

PS +- 26/9 after 5 days 2 men trapped in collapsed Taipei Hotel walked out!


Further details will follow but in the first instance - Contact any of the local clergy from the following list by fax if from outside Taiwan, and if you want to write in English - especially

St. James Church Taichung 40321
The Revíd Dr Charles Chen
23 Wu-Chuan West Road West District
Taichung 40321
Tel [ 886 4 ] 372 5392 / 372 6081
Fax [ 886 4 ] 372 5392

At Taichung, the money will be used to help people rebuild their homes through interest-free loans.  Full details later.

Another way to make a direct donation is to:
Earthquake Donation - Pu -Lee Christian Hospital
a/c no 36101000007073
Bank: The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank LTD
Shihlin Branch Taipei Taiwan.

Or send donations through local World Vision Taiwan ( 886 2 2585 6300,  postal remittance account 15752467)
or the International Red Cross earmarking donations for Earthquake in Taiwan.

Diocese of Taiwan - Clergy List.


Bishop -The Rt. Revíd Dr. John C T Chien
Epiphany Chapel - Friendship House
1-105-7 Hangchow South Road,
Taipei 10044 Taiwan ROC
Tel [ 886 2 ] 2341 1265 / 2341 0716
Fax [ 886 2 ] 2396 2014
E-mail skhtpe@ms12.hinet.net

Bishopís Secretary - Elizabeth Sah [ Green ] as above
e- mail elizabeth green <elizabeth green@ms12.hinet.net>

Chancellor - Mr Herbert Ma
Tel 2732 7740 Fax 2393 0108

Dean - The Very Revíd Samuel Y C Lin
St. Johnís Cathedral
280 Fu-Hsing South Road Section 2
Taipei 10587
Tel [ 886 2 ] 2732 7740
Fax [ 886 2 ] 2733 6736

The Church of The Good Shepherd
509 Chung Cheng Road Shihlin
11159 Taipei
The Revíd Elizabeth Wei
The Revíd Peter T P Chen
Tel [ 886 2 ] 2882 2462 /2881 8102
Fax [ 886 2 ] 2882 0513
E-mail goodshep@ms22.hinet.net
English Chaplain - The Revíd Graham Doyle
Office Tel/Fax [ 886 2 ] 2873 8104
Home Lane 10, Nu2 Shing -yi Road Peitou
Apartment 9 , 4th Floor
E-mail gtdoyle@ms19.hinet.net

St. Johnís & St. Maryís Institute of Technology
President Dr. Andrew C T Chang
499 Section 4 Tam King Road
Tamsui Taipei
Tel [ 886 2 ] 2 801 3131 ex 101
Fax [ 886 2 ] 2801 3143

Advent Church
The Revíd Dr Lennon Chang - Chaplain
Tel [ 886 2 ] 2801 3131
Home [ 886 2 ] 2801 3143
E-mail iechang@mail.sjsmit.edu.tw


St.James Church Taichung 40321
The Revíd Dr Charles Chen
23 Wu-Chuan West Road West District
Taichung 40321
Tel [ 886 4 ] 372 5392 / 372 6081
Fax [ 886 4 ] 372 5392
English Chaplain - vacant
Tel 04 372 2757

St. Peterís Church Chiayi 60028
The Revíd Jason C S Ke
Tel [ 886 5 ] 223 1884 / 227 2653
Fax [ 886 5 ] 223 1884

St. Lukeís Church Hualien 97020
The Revíd Luke H H Chen
#1-6 Ming Hsin Street Hualien
Tel [ 886 03 ] 8358 961
E- mail paul2000@ms7.hinet.net

All Saintsí Church Kangshan 82018
The Revíd Samuel K H Liao
5 Chieh Shou Road Kangshan
Tel [ 886 7 ] 625 4102

St. Paulís Church Kaohsiung 80730
The Revíd Michael Liu
200 Tzu Chiang 1st Road San Min District
Tel/Fax [ 886 7 ] 251 9529
E-mail lthmike@ksts.seed.net.tw

St. Timothyís Church Kaohsiung 80730
The Revíd Michael T H Liu
E-mail lthmike@ksts.seed.net.tw

The Revíd Justin Chun - Min Lin
E-mail stpaul@pagic.net
29 Chiu Ting Road Kaohsiung
Tel [ 886 7 ] 772 1169
Fax [ 886 7] 272 0278

Holy Trinity Church Keelung 20105
The Revíd Matthew Lee
163 Tung Ming Road Keelung
Tel / Fax [ 886 2] 2465 9909 / 2465 4820

Grace Church Tainan
The Revíd David J H Lai
Lane 5500 Number 24 Tsung Te Road Tainan
Tel [886 6] 268 3771/268 3772 Direct - 268 3774
Fax [ 886 6 ] 260 1498
E - mail e107@ ms11.hinet.net

Church of The Leading Star
Lane 6-32 Number 6 Kwang Hsing Road
Tai Ping Hsiang Taichung County 41107
Tel [ 886 4 ] 279 3274

St. Markís Church Pingtung 90025
The Revíd Chun-Shih Ou
120 - 11 Chung Hsiao Road Pingtung
St. Andrewís Church
The Revíd Chun-Shih Ou
952 Chie Ting Section 2 Chie Ting
Koahsiung County
Tel [ 886 8 ] 733 2421