United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 30, 2015
Executive Summary: Rescue efforts for Formosa Water Park burn victims have entered a critical phase. This is the most serious incident of its type in Taiwan's history. Not only were a large number of people burned, most victims suffered burns over large areas of their body. Skin grafts will be required. Medical institutions have sent skin graft material from the south of Taiwan to the north. But the quantities may not be sufficient. The government and hospitals must set up emergency dispatch and support stations. They must ensure that hospitals have everything they need. They must ensure that experts provide the best medical advice for every patient.
Full Text Below:
Rescue efforts for Formosa Water Park burn victims have entered a critical phase. This is the most serious incident of its type in Taiwan's history. Not only were a large number of people burned, most victims suffered burns over large areas of their body. Skin grafts will be required. Medical institutions have sent skin graft material from the south of Taiwan to the north. But the quantities may not be sufficient. The government and hospitals must set up emergency dispatch and support stations. They must ensure that hospitals have everything they need. They must ensure that experts provide the best medical advice for every patient.
Organizers of the rave created visual effects using colored mists. But within minutes the mist ignited in a huge fireball that enveloped 500 people and resulted in a terrible tragedy. The number of victims made it comparable to a terrorist attack. Yet this horrific tragedy occurred during a "Color Party" at a water park.
This is a matter of public safety. No one should exploit it for personal gain. But one fact is deeply disturbing. The rave, held at the Formosa Water Park, was billed as "Asia's biggest color party ever". Yet the organizers showed scant concern for safety. They lacked all common sense. High concentrations of colored powder can result in dust explosions. Experts warned about this two years ago. But the company that organized the rave only wanted to talk about "creativity" and "atmosphere". They cared only about having the biggest and the best visual effects. They cared nothing about the consequences. Later, when prosecutors visited the disaster site, they found 10 cigarette lighters and 40 cigarette butts. Yet event organizer Lu Chung-chi never warned either the staff or the audience not to smoke. Releasing the colored powder into the crowd under these conditions was like pointing a flamethrower at the audience. Lu Chung-chi thought nothing of mixing dust and cigarettes. How could the part-time student hired to turn the switch know he would precipitate such a horrendous calamity?
Five hundred people were severely burned. So many that newspapers were unable to list all the casualties. This however has not diminished peoples' pain. The burn victims were mostly young people in their twenties and thirties. A dozen or more were in their teens. Another dozen or more were foreigners or visitors from abroad. Many had just been swimming. They stood in front of the stage watching the performance in their swimwear. They were burned the instant the dust ignited, suffering severe burns over 80 to 90% of their bodies. Almost no skin remained. Relatives and friends have spoken to the media or commented on facebook. They are concerned about the severe burns to the victims bodies. They are even more concerned about their physical appearance and psychological trauma afterwards.
This incident was unique in both nature and scale. Therefore the government must set aside all considerations of cost. It must allocate funds or raise funds among the public. It must provide victims with the best treatment available and psychological counseling. It must not allow overloaded and under-staffed hospitals to be overwhelmed. The government must provide administrative support and legal assistance to the victims and their families. It must not treat this event as an ordinary civil dispute or playground accident. The victims are in pain. Yet they must engage in a tug of war with the Formosa Water Park, the Color Play Company, and the insurance companies, That truly will be torture.
During this dust explosion incident, many audience members swung into action. That night, many physicians returned to hospitals to provide emergency medical treatment. Hospitals arranged for the shipment of skin graft material from the south of Taiwan to the north. The following day people donated blood. The Ministry of Health and Welfare established a unified consultation window. They showed that they had a heart and warm blood in their veins. Five hundred burn victims were sent to thirty or forty different hospitals. Their condition must be monitored and publicized. The outside world must be informed about how the situation is progressing. If blood drives or donations are required, people need to know how they can contribute.
Last week, Lin Hui-wen, the policewoman burned in the Kaohsiung gas explosion incident, shared her feelings upon returning to active life. Lin suffered burns over 28% of her body. She underwent painful rehabilitation. She now has a more open outlook on life. She hoped that people would not have to replace half the skin on their bodies before learning that the most important thing is to love oneself. Her remarks were a sober reminder. The singer Selina was burned over 54% of her body during a film shoot. After 1000 days of treatment and patient reconstruction, she reemerged into the sunlight, providing Taiwan with a story of courage. These stories may help the Formosa Water Park burn victims and their families to retain their optimism, to continue fighting, and to refuse to let an accident defeat them in life.
The dust explosion caused by the Color Party company was an inexcusable man-made disaster. But our more immediate concern is how to help these 500 young burn victims so that they can survive the crisis and find a new lease on life.
2015-06-30 02:11:57 聯合報 聯合報社論
這個台灣史上首見的大規模燒傷事件，不僅傷者人數眾多， 且多為大面積燒傷，必須進行皮膚移植；醫療院所雖已發動「 南皮北送」，恐仍不敷使用。此刻， 政府和醫療部門應成立緊急調度及支援平台， 除確保各救治醫院所需的醫療資源供應無虞， 也應由資深專家提供最有效的醫療諮詢， 協助每一名傷者得到最好的治療。
短短幾分鐘內的大意，造成五百名民眾遭烈焰灼身， 實在是可怕的悲劇。如此嚴重的受害規模， 和一場恐怖攻擊已無兩樣，而這卻是發生在一家「水上樂園」 所舉行的「彩色派對」晚會上，令人難以想像！
八仙樂園內這場號稱「亞洲最大」的彩色派對， 對安全防護卻絲毫沒有戒備，甚至沒有一點基本常識。 高密度彩色粉末可能引起粉塵爆炸，是專家兩年前即警告過的事； 但主辦的「玩色創意」公司卻只顧強調「創意」、凸顯「氣氛」， 只顧著把彩粉噴到最多、最強，完全不考慮其他後果。 事後檢方重回災難現場，在地上發現了十個打火機、四十根菸蒂， 而主辦人呂忠吉卻稱沒有交代工作人員或現場觀眾不能抽菸。 以這樣的現場條件，當「機槍手」 發動機器將彩粉噴向台下的觀眾時， 恐怕已形同拿著火焰筒向觀眾發射。試想， 如果呂忠吉對抽菸可能引爆粉塵渾然不以為意，那麼臨時代班的「 機槍手」工讀生又哪裡知道自己會闖下滔天大禍？
人數多到媒體無法將傷患名單一一刊登在報紙上， 但這卻無法稍減人們心裡的遺憾。事實是，這些燒傷的受害者， 大多數是二、三十歲的年輕人，或者十來歲的青少年， 其中還包括十多名外籍和境外人士。許多人當時剛游過泳， 因而身著泳裝站在舞台前方觀看表演， 一遇粉塵爆炸便首當其衝瞬間著火，多人遭到八、九成的燒傷， 幾乎體無完膚。從其親友在媒體或臉書的泣訴， 他們除了身體慘遭灼炙，更令人擔心的， 是他們癒後的容貌變化及日後的心理創傷。
政府有必要擔起責任，排除一切成本考量， 不吝編列經費或公開募款，為受害者提供最佳的治療及心理輔導， 更不能讓負荷過重又資源不足的醫院在那裡窮於應付。同時， 政府也應該提供適當的行政支持及法律協助， 協助受害者或家屬組織起來； 而不能將此事件當成一起普通的民間遊樂場所意外糾紛， 讓眾多受害者在傷痛中還要面對八仙樂園、 玩色創意與保險公司的推拖拉，那才是可怕的人性折磨。
到當夜送醫高峰時許多醫師主動返院參與急救，乃至醫療機構調度「 南皮北送」的行動，或者次日許多民眾主動前往捐血， 包括衛福部成立統一諮詢窗口， 都顯示了一個溫暖社會民胞物與的熱血和條理。然而， 五百名傷者散置三、四十家醫院，他們的病情和動向如何， 相關部門必須持續追蹤並對外公布，才能讓外界了解事態的進展； 萬一有需要發動捐血、捐款，民眾才知道自己能如何奉獻。
全身廿八％燒傷的她，歷經艱辛的復健之路， 而有了更豁達的人生觀。她說，經歷這場劫難，「 希望其他人不用換去身上大半的皮膚，才知道愛自己很重要」； 此話，真是一記當頭棒喝。歌手Selina當年拍片時被火燒傷， 面積高達五十四％，經過一千多天的治療及耐心重建，她陽光復出， 為台灣留下一頁美麗與勇敢的故事。這些故事， 都有助於鼓舞八仙樂園的傷者及家屬，激勵他們保持樂觀、 保持鬥志，不要讓自己的人生輸給一場意外。