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NT$77.4 billion budgeted for 2010 flood control projects

NT$77.4 billion budgeted for 2010 flood control projects

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) The government has budgeted NT$77.4 billion (US$2.4 billion) for various flood control and prevention projects to be carried out next year, a senior water resources official said Sunday.
Chen Shen-hsien, director-general of the Water Resources Agency (WRA) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, made the remarks at a national water management conference aimed at fleshing out effective strategies to prevent recurrence of the devastating flooding caused by Typhoon Morakot in early August.
According to Chen, the 2010 flood control budget will be used to finance various river drainage projects, the dredging and cleanup of the Shihmen Reservoir's catchment areas, as well as forestation, farmland drainage and water and soil conservation.
At the moment, Chen went on, 16 post-Morakot drainage and reconstruction projects are in progress and are scheduled to be completed before the next rainy season which usually begins around May.
Typhoon Morakot brought a staggering amount of rainfall to southern Taiwan, causing serious flooding and landslides. Chen said more than 670,000 cubic meters of silt and soil have been cleaned up so far.
"Our goal in the first phase is to complete dredging of 25 million cubic meters of silt and soil from riverbeds and reservoirs by the end of June 2010," Chen said.
According to WRA statistics, silt and soil accumulation has reached 60 million cubic meters in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot, equivalent to the combined height of 32 Taipei 101 towers.
Chen promised that his agency will step up dredging efforts. The agency is also considering establishing a bank-like mechanism to regulate the country's supply of sand and gravel, he said.
Noting that flood control and prevention require concerted efforts by the central and local governments, Chen said overall planning and inter-agency cooperation are needed to achieve the targeted goals.
"Agricultural, forestry and river management agencies and local governments should work in concert to prevent excessive or abusive development in environmentally sensitive regions, such as catchment areas, mountains and forested lands, " Chen said. Without close inter-agency cooperation, flood-control projects will not prevent disasters, he added.
Speaking at the conference, Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing said the current pace of silt dredging in the wake of Morakot-triggered flooding and mudslides is too slow.
"At this rate, it would take an estimated 56 years to clear all the silt... At this special time, we need special measures. The central government should cooperate with the private sector and offer incentives to speed up the work, " said Yang whose county was hardest-hit by Typhoon Morakot.
Pingtung County Magistrate Tsao Chi-hung said his county's aquaculture industry was severely damaged by Morakot. "The government should consider how to use the silt and soil brought by the typhoon to improve the environment for the local aquaculture industry, " he added.
The WRA-organized conference brought together central and local government official and flood-control experts to discuss ways of improving disaster prevention and relief measures.
Representatives of disaster affected areas, legislators, Control Yuan members, academics and student representatives also attended the conference.
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-10-19 16:47 GMT+08:00