Hong Kong star to join Taiwan typhoon donation drive
Hong Kong pop star and actor Andy Lau is chief attraction accompanying a string of Taiwanese entertainers fronting a major fundraising event for victims of Typhoon Morakot, organisers said on Wednesday.
Lau, one of Hong Kong's biggest names and also popular in China and Taiwan, will join more than 200 homegrown stars to take donation pledges over the phone from the Taiwanese public on Friday in the four-hour fundraiser, they said.
The ruling Kuomintang said Wednesday it had received seven million Taiwan dollars (200,000 US) in personal donations, which had also been matched by the party.
Charities and companies had donated more than two billion Taiwan dollars for typhoon relief as of Tuesday, reports said, and High Speed Rail has offered free seats for rescuers to travel to worst-hit southern Taiwan.
The international community has also expressed condolences and willingness to donate aid, the foreign ministry said, adding Japan would pledge 10 million yen (103,000 US dollars).
Even detained former president Chen Shui-bian, who is facing corruption charges, has got in on the act, donating one million Taiwan dollars through his office to his home county Tainan and to neighbouring Kaohsiung.
Morakot is one of the worst typhoons to strike Taiwan in 50 years, claiming at least 66 lives and leaving another 61 missing and 35 injured. It has caused at least 7.2 billion Taiwan dollars in agricultural damage.