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Taiwan Can Help: Disaster Prevention Technology Strengthens Ties with St. Vincent & the Grenadines

In line with Taiwan’s scientific goals of “Innovation, Inclusiveness, Sustainability”, its Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has continued making progress in cross-border cooperation of disaster prevention technology and responding to societal needs. Apart from guiding smart disaster prevention research through innovative technologies, MOST builds disaster-resilient living spaces and promotes its Smart Disaster Risk Management program in accordance with the New Southbound Policy, facilitating the multilateral sharing of Taiwan’s technology and experience in the field, including disaster rescues.

On April 13, 2021, the “Signing Ceremony for the MOU on the Consultancy Project for Disaster Management and Medical Capacity Building in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” was held to promote exchanges in international initiatives and development assistance programs and research, as well as enhance their practical and innovative applications. St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ ambassador to Taiwan, Andrea Bowman, joined the signing together with the convener of the Taiwan International Health Action (TaiwanIHA), the secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Lily L.W. Hsu, the deputy director of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOFW), Shih Chung-Liang, the secretary general of the International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), Timothy T. Y. Hsiang, the president of the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs), Kuang-Chong Wu, and director of the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, Chen Hung-Yu.

An official ally of Taiwan located in the more disaster-prone eastern Caribbean Sea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has suffered through three natural disasters in the past four years, causing losses of EC$560 million (around NT$5.89 billion) and 12 deaths. Other potential risks include volcanic eruptions (La Soufrière erupted on April 11, 2021), infectious diseases, plant diseases, climate change and more, all of which will affect the country's sustainable development. After the MOU’s signing, the project will submit a report focusing on important local infrastructure in the Caribbean country, such as government buildings, seismic reinforcement of medical and health facilities, the installation of earthquake early warning systems, the installation of volcano monitoring facilities, and the establishment of a hurricane forecast system. Additionally, education and training will be conducted on improving local emergency response agencies’ functions, developing a consensus on disaster prevention technology applications.

For years, MOST has promoted the research and development in this field, along with the continuous improvement in foundational research, it has also implemented its application via its affiliates. Regarding floods and earthquake disasters in Taiwan, MOST supported the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction and NARLabs’ National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) in the integration of disaster prevention data, impact assessment systems development, real-time monitoring systems, large-scale mechanics laboratories, and others. This tight integration of technological applications effectively enhances Taiwan's overall resilience in disaster prevention. For almost ten years, the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction and NCREE have also continued to conduct international disaster prevention training camps, exporting Taiwan’s experience in this field and bearing successful results both at home and abroad.