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Local governments urged to take precautions against next storm

Local governments urged to take precautions against next storm

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou urged local governments Wednesday to take precautions against the next typhoon, which is forecast to hit Taiwan in the coming month.
The president issued the instruction during an inspection of the Dahu disaster zone in Chiayi County's Fanlu township, which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot that pummeled Taiwan Aug. 7-9.
"As the Central Weather Bureau has forecast that another typhoon believed to be stronger than Morakot is likely to strike Taiwan in the coming month, we should brace ourselves, as the situation could worsen," Ma said in a meeting with Dahu villagers.
At the start of the meeting, Ma led central government officials in ritual bowing to formally apologize to the villagers for his administration's flawed disaster relief operations in the early stages.
Fanlu township chief Lo Yin-chang briefed Ma on Morakot-triggered damage in the township, which is located in the mountainous Alishan region.
According to Lo, a total of 1,280 households comprising 3,352 people in the township's four villages -- Dahu, Gungtien, Gungsing and Caoshan -- fell victim to the storm, with their homes severely damaged or buried by mudslides.
Thanks to timely evacuation, however, no fatalities were reported in the disaster, Lo said proudly.
Morakot dumped staggering amounts of rainfall on certain parts of southern Taiwan, with Chiayi County topping the list, receiving nine months of precipitation in just three days that led to devastating flooding.
"The rainfall brought by Morakot was the largest amount ever brought by a single typhoon in 50 years. This phenomenon once again proves that Taiwan's weather patterns have changed because of global warming, " Ma said. "To tackle the trend, local governments should craft a standard operating procedure (SOP) for disaster prevention and relief as well as evacuation of residents in case of emergency." Ma lauded county and township governments for doing a good job in pre-typhoon precautions and in persuading residents in areas vulnerable to flooding and landslides to evacuate before the arrival of Morakot.
"Such efforts helped minimize human casualties during the storm's onslaught," Ma said.
He promised that the central and local governments will cooperate in finding a suitable plot of land on which the 33 Dahu families whose houses were toppled by mudslides can build new homes.
"The site will not be close to flood-prone areas or regions vulnerable to landslides or other safety risks," Ma pledged.
On post-disaster relief and reconstruction, Ma said the government will follow the principles of leniency, promptness and minimal red tape to allow typhoon-affected people to get their lives back on track as quickly as possible.
Earlier in the day, Ma also paid a visit to Taiho village in Chiayi County's mountainous Meishan township, where four villagers remained unaccounted for, 38 houses were destroyed and 23 others were severely damaged.
As the storm washed out all roads to the village, cutting it off completely, military servicemen suffered delays in getting to the village to carry out rescue and relief work, Ma said.
"Once the weather improved, our soldiers immediately got to work on relief and cleanup operations, " Ma said, expressing his gratitude for the devotion of all service members.
Some Meishan residents complained that the serious devastation in the village mainly resulted from an accumulation of silt and rocks in the Alishan river that led to a change of the river's flow and washed out the tribal settlement, and they said they will seek national compensation as a result.
In response, Ma said he will direct the county government to investigate the cause and assist residents with compensation claims.
Chiayi Magistrate Chen Ming-wen, who accompanied Ma on the inspection, also promised that students at Meishan Elementary School will be able to return to class Aug. 31 as scheduled, even though the school was seriously damaged in the storm.
"A tea-packing facility near Taiho village will provide space to be used for makeshift classrooms and if necessary, teachers and textbooks will be delivered to the school by helicopter," Chen added.
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-06-17 17:32 GMT+08:00