Help Taiwan and its people protect their democracy
Taiwan: A Democratic Friend Under Threat
Taiwan, a key friend of the United States in the Pacific, is a vibrant democracy and our ninth-largest trading partner. More than 23 million people live in Taiwan, located 100 miles from the People’s Republic of China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has stated that China “will never promise to give up the use of force” to achieve “unification” with Taiwan. The Chinese military regularly conducts large-scale exercises off the coast of Taiwan.
Located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Taiwan is also prone to disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. A 1999 earthquake caused widespread damage across the island and resulted in the injury or death of over 12,000 people and damaged or destroyed over 17,000 structures. More recent disasters, such as the Hualien earthquake in October and recent typhoons, continue to demonstrate just how critical Taiwan’s brave first responders are in a crisis.
To stand with a democratic Taiwan and help the Taiwanese people protect themselves and their communities from any crisis, natural or man-made, Spirit of America is partnering with Taiwanese partners and civil society to increase their resilience in an emergency. We believe that the people of Taiwan have no better friends than the American people.
Spirit of America Partners with Forward Alliance
Spirit of America’s Taiwanese partners plan to expand their crisis response network to over 50,000 citizens trained in crisis response skills. Our largest partners include the Taiwan-based nonprofit Forward Alliance and the National Fire Agency of Taiwan (NFA).
Forward Alliance has been teaching civilians how to respond to and help others in a disaster or emergency. To date, over 7,000 people have been trained in skills such as trauma medicine (how to correctly apply a tourniquet and use other tools) and crisis response (search and rescue, navigation, and communication techniques). The goal is to increase Taiwan’s resiliency by empowering citizens with the skills and confidence to respond in a disaster or security crisis.
Forward Alliance and Spirit of America are working directly with the NFA to pilot civilian emergency response teams, taking inspiration from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s CERT program and European civil response experience to directly support and supplement Taiwanese first responders in the event of a crisis.
“Whether it’s the next 7.0 earthquake or, worst case, a military invasion, we know we can’t rely on just the 1% [first responders and military] to do everything for us,” Forward Alliance founder Enoch Wu, a former special forces soldier, has said. “There has to be a public and private partnership to make Taiwan more resilient.”
Forward Alliance and Spirit of America also worked to improve the medical and scene safety skills of first responders by helping them establish their own training program for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC). The NFA was able to train several hundred first responders within the first month, plans to produce more instructors and plans to train the majority of Taiwan’s 14,500 first responders over the next 24 months. Our partnership is also supporting Taiwan’s first responders by training police units in the TECC program and donating trauma medical kits.
Forward Alliance and Spirit of America unveiled their operationalized T-CERT volunteer teams in drills on September 21 alongside thousands of Taiwanese first responders. With the world watching, the all-volunteer teams demonstrated their new capabilities to international observers and high-level attendees including Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who thanked Spirit of America for its support to Taiwan.
Educating Citizens on Crisis Preparedness
Spirit of America is partnering with the Taiwanese organization Watchout to produce a civil defense guide that provides everyday citizens with information on how to be prepared for a crisis. The guide will be in both a website and comic book format popular with mass audiences and include topics such as preparing yourself and your household for an emergency, basic first aid skills, and coping with the psychological impact of a crisis or disaster.
Spirit of America continues to collaborate with innovative champions and organizations across Taiwanese civil society and government. This fall, we are launching or expanding over 10 initiatives to build resilience through a whole of nation approach within Taiwan and in the immediate region.
This is a critical time for Taiwan and its friends to demonstrate a commitment to its democracy. By helping Taiwan show it is prepared for any crisis, we can help Taiwan prevent disaster and preserve its way of life.
Help Spirit of America prove that America stands with the people of Taiwan and peace in the Asia-Pacific region.