President Tsai Ing-wen has promised to offer assistance to Hualien County’s stone industry, one of the hardest hit industries following Tuesday night’s magnitude 6.0 earthquake.
Tsai made the pledge on Friday during a meeting with industry representatives.
According to the economics ministry, the stone industry suffered losses of at least NT$6.38 billion (nearly US$220 million) following the quake with over 60 manufacturers reporting damage.
Representatives have asked the government to help find a proper storage place for blocks of stone damaged by the earthquake. Even though they are broken, they said, the stone can be recycled and re-used in the future. However, they said, without a storage place, the damage could have a serious impact on business and make it difficult to continue normal operations.
The representatives also called for other assistance, including loans, tax breaks and help transporting rubble. They say it’s vital for the government to help the industry, which they say has a production value in Hualien County that’s two to three times higher than the local tourism industry.