Building Homes for Orphans and Widows after the Devastation of Typhoon Nina


In 1975, Typhoon Nina devastated eastern Taiwan. Despite the severe damage it inflicted on Jing Si Abode, the resident monastics continued to support the Tzu Chi Merit Association by providing a space behind the Abode for the construction of housing for orphans and widows.

In order to provide assistance to the impoverished survivors of Typhoon Nina and rebuild their homes, Master Cheng Yen called upon everyone to donate to the relief effort.

The Tzu Chi Merit Association prepared to construct the housing in Kangle Village, Xincheng Township, for the poor survivors of Typhoon Nina.

After evaluating the survivors’ circumstances, the foundation decided to set aside a plot of land at the Abode to build housing for orphans and widows.

The first construction project began at the Abode with the allocation of land and the construction of six 42.9-square-meter structures. Construction was completed by the end of February the following year.

During the Medicine Buddha Dharma Assembly, Master Cheng Yen made an account of the expenditures for providing shelter for the Typhoon Nina survivors.

The second construction project began in Kangle Village near the Community Activity Center. Construction was completed at the end of June.

After Typhoon Nina, Tzu Chi’s Second Construction Project in Kangle Village became known as the Tzu Chi Kangle Building Complex.

Typhoon Nina Wreaks Havoc on Hualien, While Winds in Beipu Reach as High as Level 17

Strong winds from Typhoon Nina made landfall yesterday four kilometers north of Hualien. The entire city was engulfed in fierce winds and torrential rains, causing severe damage. Four people have been confirmed dead, thirteen are seriously injured, and 114 have sustained minor injuries. 559 buildings have entirely collapsed, 1,585 buildings have partially collapsed, and 190 have sustained damages to their foundations.

Hualien Weather Station reported that Typhoon Nina made landfall between the Hualien suburbs of Beipu and Xincheng. Beipu experienced level-17 winds with a speed of 56 meters per second. Between dawn on August 3 and 2 pm, the area received 116 centimeters of rain.

After making landfall, the typhoon destroyed most of the business signs within the area and snapped the trees along the road and most utility poles in half. The single-story houses in Beipu’s Kangle, Jingmei, and Jiamin, three villages, as well as Xincheng’s Sanzhan, Shun’an, Xincheng, and Xiulin, four villages, were almost completely destroyed. It is estimated that 400 units within these seven villages have been destroyed. Hualien Airport’s control tower was also destroyed. This five-story tower was left unrecognizable by the winds, and its top is nowhere to be found. The flight control equipment inside the tower was severely damaged, and it is still uncertain if today’s flights will continue as scheduled.

The marble factories near the Hualien Airport also suffered extensive damage. Initial estimates put the total number of completely collapsed factories at over twenty, including the Yadong, Yunnan, Dongmao, Huagu, Qiu Hefeng, and Lubao marble, six factories, each of which suffered a minimum of NT$1 million in damages.

At the time of the typhoon, there were two 5,000-ton cargo ships in the port of Hualien. One was the Anlan, originally from Jilong. Another ship was the Panama-registered vessel, the Da Mingren. Yesterday, in the 40 minutes from 11:30 am to 12:10 pm, the moorings that bound them to the pier were unable to withstand the pull of the vessels as they were tossed about in the wind. When the moorings snapped, the winds pushed the two ships into the harbor. One of the boats crashed into an ice conveyer tower along the pier, causing it to topple into the water. Additionally, three fishing boats sunk in the harbor, two capsizing at sea. Rock conveyors from the Fu Guoxin and Liguang companies were also blown over.

The winds also destroyed most of the power lines and utility poles in Hualien, severely impacting the city’s power supply. Eight high voltage lines were severed, and fifty high voltage utility poles were destroyed. Hualien City suspended electrical utility service yesterday at 11 am. It is estimated that it will be at least three days before they can restore power to certain areas, and ten days until the power grid is fully restored.

Nina swept across Hualien, destroying most of the tall crops in the area. Typhoon Nina made landfall in Hualien in a similar location to Typhoon Winnie in 1958. However, its wind speeds were much greater, so the harm it caused was more severe. It is the worst natural disaster Hualien has experienced in the past seventeen years.

From Master Cheng Yen’s essay, “Requesting Aid to Build Shelters for Impoverished Survivors of Typhoon Nina.”

On August 3, Hualien was battered by the fierce and thunderous gales of Typhoon Nina. The storm caused major disasters in Xincheng, Xiulin, and Hualien City, in Hualien County. Many people were left injured, missing, or deceased, and over 500 homes were knocked down.

Although the government distributed relief funds after the typhoon, they were limited in scope and inadequate to relieve the situation of the poor. The few thousand NTD was barely enough to ensure that they would not have to worry about starving for a while. But for the poor, rebuilding their homes is the most immediate issue.

At present, a handful of survivors who were able to fix their homes have done so, restoring peace to their lives. However, there are still people who are suffering from extreme poverty, people who were suffering even before the disaster. They have no roof over their heads or floor beneath their feet. These poor widows and orphans squat next to broken walls for shelter; it is a truly sorrowful and extremely tragic sight.

Our foundation is currently helping the poor who are unable to rebuild their own homes. We are actively planning the construction of buildings to provide the homeless with long-term shelter. However, this immense construction project does not merely require NT$300-500,000, but potentially NT$600-800,000 or more. In terms of our current financial capacity, this NT$800,000 price tag already surpasses our budget by 70%. Although this exceeds what our organization is capable of undertaking, whenever we see or hear about those who are suffering due to the typhoon’s destruction of their homes, we are truly inspired to give rise to compassion! Because of this, we have no choice but to act on behalf of these impoverished people who have been most affected by the disaster. With the greatest sincerity, we call upon all virtuous people to practice compassion and give help to those in need, so that we may quickly complete our mission to provide shelter for the survivors of the typhoon. In this way, people of virtue can attain limitless merits and virtues!

Construction on shelter for the impoverished survivors of Typhoon Nina began on the 29th of last month. Six families will move in to their newly built homes before the Spring Festival. The purchase of land from the Taiwan Sugar Corporation is still underway.

While our foundation planned to build housing for the impoverished survivors of Typhoon Nina, we decided to save time by designating a plot of land that the Jing Si Abode owned nearby as the construction site. The building process began on December 29th, and disaster survivors will be able to move in before the Spring Festival.

Tzu Chi was able to build shelters for the disaster survivors thanks to the donations from virtuous people throughout the country who heeded the calls to donate and worked together to promote this great cause. Tzu Chi originally decided to purchase a plot of land in Kangle Village, Xincheng Township, from the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. The plot was over 958 square meters. However, due to the complex legal procedures required to buy land, the land was purchased under the name of Xicheng Township Office and reported to the Hualien County Government. Through the Hualien County Government, we issued a formal application to the sugar factory in Hualien, which then sent the request to company headquarters. On top of this, the transaction could only be completed after gaining approval at the company’s board meeting and from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

On December 27th, Hualien County Government Secretary-General Zhang Wenbo, County Council Secretary-General Chen Xunqing, County Government Department of Finance Chief Ruan Yipin, and Taiwan Sugar Company’s Director of Communications Gu Xinyi all met with Tzu Chi to discuss our purchase of the land. They decided to allot the Aftercare Committee of Typhoon Nina NT$90,000 for the purchase of the land. Secretary-General Zhang hoped that construction would begin in the beginning of January so that shelter could be provided to the survivors as soon as possible. However, Director Gu believed it best to receive proper approval before beginning construction.

It was under these conditions that Master Cheng Yen had a discussion with the commissioners and a survey was conducted among the survivors. Through this process, they discovered that some of the impoverished survivors of the typhoon and their dependents had relocated, with the exception of the five families of the widows. Upon seeing the sad circumstances of the widows and orphans, Tzu Chi decided to first use some of the abode’s own land to build six homes to house them so that they would not be left without shelter.

These six buildings are built out of cement and rebar, and each home is 42.9 square meters, comprising two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Hualien County Council Member Kang Dexing took on this construction project with his company. According to the compassionate Mr. Kang, he did not profit from building these homes; he did this completely out of his dedication to serving the poor.

The Hualien Tzu Chi Merit Association collects donations to construct housing for the poor, completing a total of nine buildings to shelter typhoon survivors.

[Reporting from Hualien] After Typhoon Nina’s assault on Hualien and the devastation it caused on August 3 of last year, Hualien’s Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Association began an initiative to collect donations for the construction of housing for impoverished survivors of the disaster, receiving strong support nationwide. In the first phase of construction, six buildings were planned, and they were completed in February of this year. During the second phase, three buildings were constructed, all of which were completed this month. As the survivors moved into these new residences, they expressed their fervent gratitude for the Tzu Chi Merit Association’s charitable acts, as well as the support and warmth pouring in from all corners of society.

Yesterday (July 25th), the head of Tzu Chi, Master Cheng Yen, announced, “Donations totaled NT$544,601, and the construction of the nine buildings cost a total of NT$675,000. The outstanding NT$130,398.60 was provided by Tzu Chi.”

The six buildings constructed during the first period were built behind Tzu Chi’s headquarters on the right side, on land belonging to the Jing Si Abode. These buildings were divided among six families of survivors. The three homes constructed during the second phase were built near Xincheng Township’s Kangle Village Community Activity Center. Each building contains three rooms, and together, they provide housing for nine individual disaster survivors.

The nine buildings were constructed with steel and cement, and each is 42.9 square-meters large. Since they were unable to rebuild their own homes, disaster survivors took refuge in the Community Activity Center after the typhoon, on August 3 of last year. Thanks to the successful construction of the homes built with funds donated by people from all corners of society, they will no longer be without a home.

We hope that all impoverished people will be safe and sound—constructing shelters and housing for the survivors of Typhoon Nina

On August 3, 1975, Typhoon Nina swept across Hualien, causing severe damage in Xincheng, Xiulin, and Hualien City. The members of the Tzu Chi Merit Association witnessed the sad state of many disaster survivors who had “no roof over their heads or a floor beneath their feet.” Because of this, they decided to collect donations for disaster relief, calling upon virtuous people throughout Taiwan to contribute to the construction of shelters and homes for survivors of Typhoon Nina.

The construction was divided into two phases. The six houses built during the first phase were constructed on the right rear side of the Tzu Chi Merit Association. The land was owned by the association and was given to six families of survivors. During the second phase of construction, nine houses were built near Xincheng Township’s Kangle Village Community Activity Center, housing a total of nine residents. In the end, the cost of the land and the 15 housing units came to NT$675,000, which was donated by the Merit Association and virtuous people all across Taiwan.

Construction began on December 29, 1975; the two phases of construction were completed in February and June of 1976. The second phase of construction covered over 957 square meters and was built on NT$90,000 worth of land purchased from the Taiwan Sugar Corporation.

The bureaucratic procedures for procuring state-owned land are very complex. During that time, with the assistance of authorities of the relevant public agencies, their staff members, and the heads of the Taiwan Sugar Company, the case was finally reported to the county government, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs finally approved the transaction.

At present, all nine buildings at the Kangle Village Community Activity Center continue to be inhabited.

Tzu Chi’s Kangle Construction Project—A Fountain of Kindness and Love

Tzu Chi’s Kangle construction project began in 1975, and now it boasts over thirty years of history. It was originally constructed for those lone elderly survivors left homeless by Typhoon Nina, who had been taking shelter in the Kangle Village Community Activity Center. Years later, as those elders gradually passed away, it eventually became a shelter for the homeless. Over the past thirty years, the complex at Kangle has undergone numerous renovations, and while the structure of these buildings is simple, it is sturdy beyond compare.

There are four elderly men who live in the Kangle complex, Chencai, Jiang Rongci, Lin Jiqing, and Bai Laifa. They make the place seem like a fountain of love and compassion. In addition to scheduled care visits from Tzu Chi’s social workers, there are Tzu Chi medical volunteers, local Hualien volunteers, and members of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association who would drop in from time to time to the complex to provide support for these lovable and unique elderly men. In addition to bringing them happiness and laughter, they also help clean the Kangle complex, tidying it up and so on. Everywhere you look, you’ll see the mark of Tzu Chi volunteers. These volunteers view these old men like their own grandparents, and thus they radiate happiness and love and spread the seeds of goodness that grow deep within these elders’ hearts.

Because of this assistance from Tzu Chi, even though these elderly men have experienced periods of instability in their pasts, after finding a stable place of refuge, they have been able to turn their lives around and work to benefit society. Mr. Chencai lives on his military pension, and he is still able to save money. Along with the money he saved by selling the rocks he collects, this allows him to dedicate a large portion of his savings to Tzu Chi. He believes that this is the best way to help people who are needier than himself. Jiang Rongci relies upon government provisions for the poor and disabled. Yet during last year’s Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, he generously contributed NT$10,000. The story of Mr. Jiang and Mr. Chen was broadcasted as a drama on Da Ai television two years ago. It was entitled “An Orange Sunset,” and countless people were very moved by it. Lin Jiqing relies upon a low-to-medium disability allowance of NT$4,000 a month. Still, he donates a fixed amount of NT$200 each month to express his love to others. Finally, although Bai Laifa relies upon Tzu Chi’s assistance, he works hard at the recycling center, and has become a guardian of the earth. On the streets of Beipu, many people recognize the silhouette of his bike and cart loaded with recyclables.

The elderly residents of the Kangle complex look to the Tzu Chi Abode for spiritual support. Whenever something happens in their lives, big or small, they come to the Abode to discuss these issues. Tzu Chi’s social workers always help them resolve minor matters in their daily lives and listen to any issues that are bothering them. These elderly men treat these Tzu Chi members as their very own family members. Chen Peizhen, a social worker with extensive experience assisting these four elders, said, “In the beginning of my relationship with them, they called me ‘Ms. Chen’. However, as time passed, they started referring to me by my first name, as if I were one of their younger family members. I could really tell there was a difference.” What moved her most was that despite relying on assistance from Tzu Chi, they still found their own way to give back to society. This strengthened her conviction that every living person has to find a way to demonstrate their altruistic potential and bring purity to society.

Building Homes for Orphans and Widows after the Devastation of Typhoon Nina
September 5, 1975
November 8, 1975
December 27, 1975
December 29, 1975
March 1, 1976
June 30, 1976
July 5, 1976
Related Information
August 4, 1975
United Daily News, Page 3
September, 1975
Tzu Chi Monthly Issue 107
January 5, 1976
Tzu Chi Monthly Issue 111
July 26, 1976
Independence Evening Post, Page 6
February 1, 1992
Tzu Chi Companion Issue 146
November 16, 2005
Caring for the World Column in Keng Sheng Daily News