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Typhoon relief: Housing compensation and low-interest agricultural loans

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As Typhoon Temblin approached southern Taiwan a second time today, the Executive Yuan instructed relevant agencies to obtain real-time updates on losses and damages in disaster areas and quickly provide them with needed assistance.

In addition, the Council of Agriculture announced yesterday that it is providing disaster loans with a 1.25-percent annual interest rate to Taitung farmers and fishermen who suffered damages from the typhoon's first landfall.

The Executive Yuan says relevant agencies are following President Ma's principles of "broadening eligibility, simplifying procedures and accelerating investigations" to quickly survey and compensate for agricultural damages. With the full support of the central government and on the basis of the Implementation Rules of Agricultural Natural Disaster Relief, agencies are announcing rescue areas, affected produce items and production facilities, and relief amounts and providing monetary assistance through both cash and low-interest loans.

Regarding areas like Taitung's Dawu and Green Island which suffered heavy amounts of housing damage, the Executive Yuan indicated that based on the aforementioned Implementation Rules as well as the Categories and Standards of Assistance for Windstorm, Earthquake, Major Fire and Explosion Disasters, if the home was rendered unsuitable for residence, each person who lived in it (up to five people) is entitled to NT$20,000 (about US$673) to help him relocate safely.

Municipalities or counties will organize and disperse this aid. If water damage is especially serious, central government authorities competent in disaster mitigation and prevention may approve increased relief and subsidies.

Farmers and fisherman whose livelihoods were damaged by the typhoon should apply to their township or city hall for Proof of Damages that are Due to Natural Disasters within 10 days of their region being declared a disaster area, the Executive Yuan said. Within 15 days of receiving this certification, they should attach it to a Proposal for Agricultural Rebuilding and Re-cultivation after Natural Disasters to apply for a low-interest disaster loan.

Chinese- and English-language versions of these applications are available at the Bureau of Agricultural Finance's website (http://www.boaf.gov.tw).

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