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2024/4/13
After a 7.2 Strong Quake, Yu-Shan Theological Seminary Needs Help

Taiwan Church News

3763 Edition

April 8 ~ 15, 2024

Weekly Topical

After a 7.2 Strong Quake, Yu-Shan Theological Seminary Needs Help

Jointly Reported by Lin Yi-ying and Dalul

At 07:58 on April 3, an earthquake of Richter-scale magnitude 7.2 occurred in Hualien of eastern Taiwan, followed by dozens of aftershocks. Up to 12:00 on April 8, it is reported that 13 persons had died, 1,146 injured, and 6 still missing.

Rev Peng Chi-hong, moderator of the PCT General Assembly, Rev Chen Hsin-liang, general secretary and some PCT GA officials, went to Hualien on April 9 to express their concerns of the devastating quake damages occurred at Yu-Shan Theological Seminary, and pay their condolence to the deceased and their family in a funeral service held by Bunun Presbytery and the Hualien Missionary Alliance (HMA).

The PCT Church and Society Committee (CSC) sent a pastoral letter to all local churches and affiliated institutes, calling PCT members to pray and donate for the injured and the needy after this catastrophic Hualien earthquake.

According to a statistics from the PCT General Assembly, up to April 8th, 2 persons of the PCT died, 5 injured, and 1 missing. The quake damages occurred to the possessions includes two church buildings and one house in the Eastern Presbytery; One house in Taipei Presbytery; three churches and five houses in the Truku Presbytery; several school buildings of Yu-Shan Theological Seminary were damaged.

After the earthquake, the PCT CSC and the HMA, formed by Presbyteries of Truku, ‘Amis, Bunun, and East Taiwan, immediately launch a first-aid network and set up a group on Facebook for communication.

Pastors of HMA starts to pay condolence to the families of the deceased and went to the hospital to visit the injured. In order to go forward to tribal villages of Bei-Bin and Shou-Feng to repair the supplies of water and electricity after quake destruction, the first-aid network also recruit and launch voluntary services and staffs on April 6th and 7th. Up to date of this report, about 20 households are repaired OK.

For six consecutive days from April 8 to 13, HMA also sets up rescue stations next to Suhua Forward Command Post and the Truku Works Section of the Highway Administration to provide drinking water and consultation of household repair. Mennonite Christian Hospital also cooperates with HMA’s rescue station, planning to hold a service of peace at 10 a.m. on April 13 to comfort the traumatized.

Rev Walis Ukan, dean of Yu-Shan Theological Seminary, points out in an interview that most of their teachers and students are in classroom when the earthquake occurs, and no one injured due to immediate evacuation.

After a detailed check and inspection, Rev Walis Ukan expresses inside the seminary there are three serious collapses, including the couple’s dormitory, the road outside male students’ dormitory, and the road along campus observation deck.

In addition, he details the disarray, for example, the ceiling frames of male students’ dormitory fell, the walls of housemaster dormitory looks seeped, and the ceiling frames of the classroom ceiling fell; the walls of the education building’s pantry, toilets, and dining rooms are cracked; the beams on the top floor are cracked; the rolling steel doors are damaged; the dormitory walls of the female housemaster are broken; the walls of the library are cracked, and lots of books are scattered in chaos. .

Up to date, he indicates, all seminary teachers and students have moved to the General Building for classes, couples living in the couple’s dormitory has been temporarily moved to the Yu-Shan Resort and the Retreat House, and the dormitory housemasters have been temporarily moved to the teacher’s dormitory.

Rev Walis Ukan remarks that this week happens to be the labor service week of Yu-Shan Theological Seminary. While facing the disaster, as an educational institution that cultivates the ministers, he pledges to respond the challenges and take action to launch campus recovery and reconstruction. He also says he will cooperate with The Mustard Seed Mission in Hualien to help local residents with pastoral care and spiritual counseling.

On April 9th, Rev Peng Chi-hong and Rev Chen Hsin-liang arrived at Yu-Shan Theological Seminary to listen to the briefing, and then go into the inflicted campus to understand the destructions. After offering Yu-Shan Theological Seminary a condolence payment of NT$100,000 on behalf of the PCT General Assembly, Rev Chen Hsin-liang remarks that the damage caused amid the seminary is alarmingly destructive and extensive. He stresses that professional structural technicians are needed to assess the safety of these school building. In addition to calling on church pastors and members to care and pray for each other, he also asks everyone in the PCT to come together to care about the very urgent needs of aboriginal theological education of Yu-Shan Theological Seminary.

Later, Both Rev Peng Chi-hong and Rev Chen Hsin-liang rush to the Hualien City Funeral Home to pay condolence to the family of Sister Yu Mei-jen, who was hit by falling rocks during a slope construction and finally rested in peace accompanied by her husband Mr. Hsi My-ke.

Rev Peng and Rev Chen both attend the funeral service held by the Bunun Presbytery and pay condolence to the deceased and her family on behalf of the PCT General Assembly. In addition to expressing his sincere condolence and comfort to the families of the earthquake victims, Rev Chen Hsin-liang also hopes that God’s healing will come to the injured and offers his blessings for an ordered and efficient reconstruction.

Rev Peng Chi-hong expresses his highest respect and gratitude to Taiwan’s central and local governments for their joint efforts and first-aid relief after this Hualien earthquake, and he gives his appreciation to all kinds of civilian groups that unselfishly and enthusiastically work together to save people and help the needy .

Many ecumenical partner churches deliver their earnest care and prompt concerns at the first time after this historical 7.2 earthquake occurred in Taiwan, Including the World Council of Churches (WCC), Council of World Mission (CWM), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ), Jesus Christ Church in Japan (JCCJ), the ACT Alliance, and etc. Remarkably, the UCCJ donated NT$ 1 million dollars for the reconstruction after this Hualien earthquake.

Translated by Peter Wolfe


Submitted by:Taiwan Church Press
 
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