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Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan

by The Mustard Seed Mission
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Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan
Building Community Disaster Resilience in Taiwan

"We are located in the mountains, and whenever there is heavy rain or an earthquake, the roads are easily cut off. We cannot go out, and resources cannot come in. If the roads cannot be repaired immediately, the tribe easily faces the shortage of food and clean water. Besides the fear brought by disasters, we also directly face the crisis of food shortage, especially for the elderly and children who need care. So we are very grateful that The Mustard Seed Mission has thought of us and set up storage of supplies in the tribe..." The tribal people shared with us.

On September 18, 2022, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake occurred in Taitung, causing the road to be temporarily blocked due to landslides in the Litu Tribe, Haiduan Township located on Southern Cross-Island Highway 20. Continuous aftershocks and the inability to immediately clear the roads for external access. The Mustard Seed Mission immediately opened the storage point in the Litu Tribe, serving over 50 households in the tribe. Before the rainy season this year, they will replenish the supplies at the storage hubs in preparation. Only with adequate preparation can we serve those in need in a timely manner.

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On September 18th, 2022, the magnitude 6.8 earthquake caused serious disasters in various parts of Hualien and Taitung. Earthquakes frequently in there, the Mustard Seed Mission and the Taitung County Government jointly held “The 4th Safe City Carnival" on October 1st 2022.  The theme of the event was “Disaster Prevention Education~ Play to Learn “.  

This event, held in the Taitung City Birthday Cake Park, invited nearly 50 booths. During the event, various purposefully designed games were introduced, and through interactive methods such as break-through, the participants are expected to learn the correct concept of refuge and escape, furthermore, to help children and adults to enhance themselves with the knowledge about the adoption of disaster prevention procedures. 

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In 2019, the Mustard Seed Mission went to Palu Indonesia, which was hit by a strong earthquake and tsunami, to assist in the post-disaster reconstruction. We also brought Taiwan's disaster prevention experience to the local area and provided disaster and earthquake disaster prevention education in local communities and elementary schools.
It is hard to imagine that Indonesia is a country with frequent earthquakes, but apart from the problems of the building structure itself, children have no concept of disaster prevention and do not know how to protect themselves.
On November 22, 2022, a shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 occurred in the mountainous area of West Java, Indonesia's most populous province, severely damaging occurred in local towns. 268 people had been killed and 151 people were still missing. Most of children died when the school collapsed.
This highlights the importance of disaster prevention for children and schools. We all know it is important, but we may not be able to do it !
This year, The Mustard Seed Mission began to cooperate with companies to work on disaster prevention in schools in many remote and original hometowns. Through games and drills, children can learn disaster prevention happily and know how to protect themselves while encountering disasters.
Invite you to join us in supporting the Mustard Seed Community Disaster Relief Program. Let children have a safe and happy learning environment.
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Taimali Senior Learning Center in Taitung County is located next to the Presbyterian Church in the community.  Every day, the elders usually gather and sit around in a small space outside the learning center, chatting and laughing. They talk about family affairs or the exciting plot of the local drama they have been binge-watching.  Nevertheless, different from the community care center whose function aims for caring, the establishment of the elderly learning center serves the purpose to encourage the elderly to go out of their house and interact with the outside world.  Through learning, they can explore and discover more about themselves, the focus of life, and the meaning of happiness.  Embracing the “live and learn” attitude has become the life goal pursued by the elders gathered in the senior center.

Over the years, Taiwan has been developing and stepping into an aging society. Whenever a disaster occurs, the index of social vulnerability is one indicator that predicts to what level a region's ability to withstand the impact of a disaster.  This index is designed and to be evaluated by three types of data: population, income, and available shelters for refugees.  In the category of population, the elderly are classified as vulnerable populations, which means that these groups are at high risk when a disaster occurs.  Therefore, in the event of a disaster, learning to protect oneself has become a very important subject for the elderly.

The Mustard Seed Disaster Prevention and Relief Service Center cooperates with the Taimali Senior Learning Center to arrange and promote disaster prevention education.   This program is specifically targeting to teach self-protection amid natural disasters against earthquakes, fires, and floods.  At the time of idea communication and the promotion, the concept to combine packaged games and technology and apply over disaster prevention is well introduced.  We accompanied the elders to go through various challenges facing different unfamiliar fields, as well as 3C devices!   We adopted the online game app - Kahoot to let the elders compete during the game plays.  When they learned that competition was coming, the elders demonstrated a strong spirit of winning.  Before the answers were announced by the host on the stage, the elders murmured their answers off the stage, hoping their answers hit the jackpot.   At site, they were super excited with big smiles, as soon as they got the answers right.  On the contrary, if they missed the answers, they bowed their head with regret. Some questioned and disagreed with the answers, they demand someone to explain.  Such mindset and behavior are just fully demonstrating elderly people, regardless of their age, still, keep an innocent hearts like children in the event of games play. 

Nevertheless, we helped elderly citizens using smartphones to join the official account of the National Center for Disaster Prevention and Rescue (NCDR) registered with LINE, the social media service provider. By doing so, they can check the disaster information around their area at any time.  "It's fun! LINE will protect us.” A grandma squinted and stared at her phone and continued: "In the past, I only used LINE to video chat with children living in different places, that's all."  Rather than just stay in the state of being rescued, we noticed the elders were developing the awareness to learn the importance of self-help.   We realize that the path toward disaster prevention has taken a big step forward.  To continue the concept of digital learning as well as incorporating technology in disaster prevention class,  we taught the elderly how to use the tablet to enter the 3D disaster potential map of the National Disaster Prevention and Rescue Technology Center.  As soon as they found the location on the map, they typed their own home address.  The website on the screen just popped up the position showing exactly where they were at the moment.  Many elders were responding with huge pleasant surprise, knowing that one can actually be rescued. Thanks to the modern technology development.   They repeatedly were zooming with two fingers and following step by step to check their own disaster risks one by one.  Ultimately, they understand there may be potential disasters to occur in the future, and how they can prepare for disaster prevention in advance.

Going forward, we expect, in this small space of this senior learning center, at the time elders gather for chit chat, the topics will include not only about family affairs, or the exciting plot of the local drama they are binge-watching, but also how they can be better prepared prior to the arrival of typhoons and flooding. They can remind each other about disaster prevention measures and preparations.  Through this frequent reminder, they will be well prepared ahead to store excess food beforehand and know how to protect themselves when an earthquake strikes.  Furthermore, this can gradually develop an awareness of disaster prevention mindset and let this mentality and attitude be constructively embedded in their daily life.

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Since 2018, the Mustard Seed Mission has established the Community Disaster Prevention and Relief Center to promote the nationwide community training program to build up the strength of self-disaster prevention by deepening the individual awareness of disaster prevention as well as the organization and mobilization of the community.

We learn from our experience in training the community people that whether it is in cooperation with the local community association or the governmental agents, the majority of the participants are the middle-aged and elderly people. Therefore, it took us a lot of time to develop the suitable language and methods that senior citizens can understand. We hope that their participations are not just "sit" and listen but rather acquire the knowledge through "doing". Thus, "activities and implementations" are the characteristics of our course design. The course composes mainly with pictures and texts, supplemented by videos, and is conveyed in mandarin/Taiwanese mixed dialect, so that the community people can understand the importance of disaster prevention.

Learning what to pack in a disaster prevention package through the disaster prevention package teaching aids.
Residents brainstorming how to turn cardboard boxes into beds.

In order to reduce the distance between students in the course, "poster paper, post-it notes, and maps" have almost become our necessary props in each course design. In addition to learning, we also believe that "community people are experts in solving their own community problems." Through the participation and discussion, the disaster prevention measures suitable for their own communities will naturally be derived. Our lecturers are only of the guiding role!

Use poster paper and post-it notes to make community residents think and act
Share a resource map of your own community

In the middle of this year, due to the epidemic, many community training courses were suspended. Fortunately, the epidemic eased and the policy was slightly lifted in August 2021. We stepped up our pace and conducted two training courses in Tainan and Kaohsiung. From disaster self-protection to unifying the past disaster experience of our community, as well as possible disaster crises, to the organization and mobilization of the community at the end, we use various teaching materials to lead community students to do and think in each class. We are very happy that we received feedback from many community students after the course: "The course is simple and easy to understand, with pictures and practical exercises, it is easy and interesting, and impressive. In particular, some questions and answers in the classroom help us to clarify the correct concept. " That's the kind of learning we have been looking forward to bringing to the community.

In the past, when it comes to community disaster prevention, many people intuitively feel that the courses are just listening to lecturers, boring and uninteresting. However, through the experience of accompanying many communities in the past few years, we have found that in fact, we only need to use appropriate teaching materials and teaching aids, and integrate the concept of disaster prevention into the life of the students. As the result, disaster prevention is not difficult and related to the students. As the community member, they are closely related; the concept can lead the students to pay attention to and learn about disaster prevention in the community. Thanks to the feedback and encouragement of our students, we will continue to accompany and nurture more communities.

 Travel with Disaster Prevention Empowerment Workshops, see you at the next stop!
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The Mustard Seed Mission

Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan - Taiwan
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MustardSeedTW
Project Leader:
The Mustard Seed Mission Taiwan
New Taipei City , Taiwan
$12,197 raised of $67,000 goal
60 donations
$54,803 to go
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