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Taiwan president wants to speed up flood prevention

Central government should be more proactive: Tsai

President Tsai visiting Yunlin Sunday.

President Tsai visiting Yunlin Sunday. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As days of extreme torrential rain battered Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Sunday that water management work to prevent flooding should be speeded up.

The president toured Yunlin and Chiayi, two of many areas around Taiwan where heavy rains destroyed roads, homes and farmland. Two people died and five were injured during the storms, which hit regions as far apart as the north coast and the mountains of Greater Kaohsiung.

“In the face of climate change, water management work cannot wait any longer and needs to be speeded up,” Tsai posted on her Facebook page.

The government should compensate for past shortcomings in flood-prevention work by using its current Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Plan, she said.

Local governments which faced financial straits should receive support from the central government, according to Tsai, as budgets under the economic program were flexible.

Once the disaster over, the government needed to reflect and evaluate its measures, with “doing even better” as the eternal aim, she said.

Flood prevention and other water management issues needed to be addressed and completed before the next floods arrived, and the central government needed to be even more proactive in assisting local authorities, according to the president.

Separately, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) went to inspect flood damage Saturday in Keelung City, where a local neighborhood official complained he had been asking for eight years for improvements to local flood-prevention measures. On Sunday morning, a team of public workers brought a bulldozer to start the necessary work, reports said.