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Flushing business leaders organize Taiwan flood relief

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Flushing’s business community quickly mobilized a relief effort last week after a typhoon dumped more than 100 inches of rain on parts of Taiwan, devastating parts of the countryside with floods and mudslides.

Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan’s southern coast Aug. 9, dropping an astonishing 120 inches of rain on parts of the small island nation. Floods and mudslides brought on by the deluge destroyed entire villages, killing at least 300 people as of Aug. 18, according to the Associated Press.

The disaster did not go unnoticed in Flushing, which houses a large Taiwanese population.

“Thankfully, my relatives are fine,” said Sing Liu, a Taiwanese immigrant who was headed to the Taiwan Center on Northern Boulevard last week to see how to donate to the relief effort. “I couldn’t get a hold of them for two days though. It was terrifying. I watched TV all day. All you saw were those floods and those huge mudslides, so of course I worried.”

Flushing Chinese Business Association President Peter Koo said the business group had already raised more than $40,000 by Friday afternoon to donate to the relief effort.

Terence Park joined Koo and the seven other candidates running to succeed City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) outside of Flushing Library Friday to show solidarity for the flood victims.

“Any time there is a tragedy in the world, a diverse community like Flushing feels it,” said Evergreen Chou, a Green Party candidate for the seat.

Yen Chou said she had raised $7,500 to send overseas for the relief effort while Isaac Sasson and S.J. Jung each made donations to the Flushing Chinese Business Association on the spot Friday.

“New Yorkers are known to show tremendous empathy,” Jung said. “Let’s all work together as long as it takes and do what we can to help the victims of this tragedy.”

Flushing, which has a large Asian-American population, is no stranger to outreach overseas. In 2008, several nonprofit groups and business associations, like the Flushing Chinese Business Association, came together to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the relief effort following the Sichuan earthquake that killed more than 12,000 people in western China.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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