Tzu Chi’s Founder, Master Cheng Yen, Visits Earthquake-Impacted Areas in Hualien

After an earthquake strikes Hualien, Taiwan, on the morning of April 3, 2024, Master Cheng Yen visits hospitals and schools in the city that afternoon to learn about the situation and offer care. Photo/Tzu Chi Global Headquarters

Written by Jennifer Chien
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto

Press Release

Within half an hour after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck near Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast on April 3, 2024, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, with its global headquarters in the city, set up an Earthquake Disaster Response Center at the Jing Si Abode. Master Cheng Yen personally took charge of the relief mission, aiming to assess the situation in detail and instruct Tzu Chi volunteers on the launch of immediate disaster relief efforts.

Tzu Chi’s Earthquake Disaster Response Center is up and running outside the main hall at the Jing Si Abode, Tzu Chi’s global headquarters. Photo/Tzu Chi Global Headquarters

Although the Jing Si Abode campus was affected by the earthquake, incurring scattered damages, staff and residents are safe; thus, disaster relief work could proceed normally. The Earthquake Disaster Response Center has been receiving information about the situation in Hualien. Upon learning about disaster rescue operations and people’s need for immediate aid, including hot food and supplies, the Jing Si Abode’s resident Dharma masters mobilized to prepare hot food lunch boxes for distribution to rescue teams and disaster survivors. 

Resident Dharma Masters, staff, and volunteers work together in the Jing Si Abode’s kitchen, preparing hot food lunch boxes for rescue teams and disaster survivors in Hualien. Photo/Tzu Chi Global Headquarters

At the same time, Tzu Chi started to gather disaster relief supplies based on needs information provided by various parties, preparing them for transport to and distribution in the city. The items include blankets, temporary beds, screens, tents, drinking water, energy drinks, hot meals, and other supplies.

Volunteers prepare to distribute disaster relief supplies, including temporary beds, screens, tents, and blankets, to those displaced by the earthquake's destruction. Photo/Tzu Chi Global Headquarters

Master Cheng Yen personally oversaw the setting up of the Earthquake Disaster Response Center. In addition, she made a special visit to earthquake-damaged areas in the city that afternoon to convey her gratitude and concern to those on the relief frontlines, such as the police, firefighters, rescue workers, Tzu Chi volunteers, members of Fo Guang Shan (a fellow Taiwanese Buddhist organization), and other NGO groups. She also blessed the firefighters who mobilized with urgency after the earthquake and the frontline search and rescue teams who were working so hard and urged everyone to pay attention to safety.

The four Deputy CEOs of the Global Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Biyu Lin, Reysheng Her, Simon Shyong, and George Chang, accompanied Master Cheng Yen during her visit to the city. She also stopped by hospitals, schools, and other places to learn about the situation and express her care personally. Master Cheng Yen’s trip lasted from the afternoon until after dark, when she finally returned to the Jing Si Abode. 

Master Cheng Yen visits disaster areas in Hualien on April 3, 2024, shortly after the earthquake struck. Photo/Tzu Chi Global Headquarters

With the immediate activation of Tzu Chi’s disaster response mechanism on the day of the earthquake, Powen Yan, the CEO of the Global Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, will work closely with the central and local governments in providing upcoming care to meet community needs, hoping to minimize this disaster’s impact as quickly as possible.

Your love and support make Tzu Chi’s disaster relief missions possible internationally. Please help as we respond to this catastrophe in Taiwan.

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