TAIPEI, Sept. 27, 1999 — On September 21, at 1:47 a.m., a massive earthquake struck Taiwan, leaving more than 2,000 people dead, and thousands more injured, homeless or trapped in the rubble. Rescue efforts were complicated by severe aftershocks that triggered mudslides, forced terror-stricken residents into the streets and cracked one of Taiwan’s largest reservoirs.
Microsoft Taiwan Corporation employees responded quickly to the devastation. An employee task force, headed by Microsoft Taiwan Corporation President Cheng-Chu Allen Fan, was formed to coordinate all volunteer efforts by Microsoft personnel. Plans for the subsidiary’s 10th anniversary celebration were canceled immediately, and the event budget of $79,000 was donated to the government’s emergency-response account to assist with the relief effort.
“While we are extremely thankful that all of our employees in our Taiwan subsidiary are well and unharmed, we know that there are thousands more who were not as lucky,” said Pieter Knook, vice president of Microsoft’s Asia Region.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them at this time of tragedy. Microsoft is committed to helping the victims of the earthquake.”
Knook said many Microsoft employees have asked how they can help, leading Microsoft to identify several organizations to which employees may consider giving, including World Vision, the Red Cross and the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation USA. He said Microsoft will match all eligible donations.
Microsoft also will be making a separate grant of $30,000 to World Vision, an agency that has been operating in Taiwan for 35 years. World Vision is providing relief supplies and helping to reconstruct Taiwan’s communities, a process that is expected to take at least a year and cost billions of dollars.