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Concerted efforts made in assisting building collapse victims

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD), together with other Government departments, today (February 1) continued to provide assistance and support to the residents affected by the building collapse in Ma Tau Wai Road.

     Over the past few days, a host of charitable organisations have taken the initiative to offer financial assistance to the affected residents through the SWD.  The latest donor is the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) Charities Trust, which will offer a donation of $20,000 to each of the affected households to help them acquire daily necessities and cope with special financial needs as the Chinese New Year approaches.

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, expressed his sincere gratitude for the generous support and compassion of HKJC Charities Trust. He said he trusted that the donation could help further relieve the financial burden of the affected households.

    "I am grateful to all the civic-minded organisations and members of the public who have shown great support to the Government by lending a helping hand to the affected residents in the past few days. This is a clear demonstration that Hong Kong is a caring society," he said.

     As of today, the donors who have made a pledge include:

* Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust ($20,000 for each family)
* The Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon "Lok Sin Tong Caring Fund" ($5,000 for each family/ additional $50,000 in ex-gratia payment for each death case)
* The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce ($20,000 for each death case)
* Buddhist Compassion Relief Tze-Chi Foundation ($3,000 for each family / $5,000 for each death case)
* Shang Sin Chun Tong (a total of $200,000)

     After the building collapse occurred last Friday (January 29), the SWD immediately arranged for the dissemination of relief funds to the victims for emergency use. The department also provided counselling services and followed up their welfare needs, including the provision of food and daily necessities.

     To support the residents moving into the Shek Lei interim housing, the SWD will provide them with dinner tonight and offer cash grants for meals for the following seven days. The SWD and other government departments have also set up a helpdesk to follow up the needs of the residents.

     On the special needs of some families, the SWD also made every effort to render the necessary assistance, such as making arrangements to facilitate students to attend school and helping Mainland relatives of the deceased come to Hong Kong for funeral services. The SWD also deployed social workers to accompany an Indian elder, who was unable to retrieve his passport and air ticket from the closed building, in going through the necessary application procedures, and provided him with financial aid so that he can return to his home country to visit his sick wife by air this Friday (February 5).

     The SWD will continue to render support to the residents, including following up their welfare needs upon their move to the interim housing units and speeding up the processing of compassionate rehousing applications of eligible families. So far the department has processed over 20 cases.

Ends/Monday, February 1, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:20


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