Taiwan's Hualien County suddenly announces office, school closures

Parents race to pick up kids as Hualien, Taiwan suddenly announces office, school closures

(Image from Peng Chi-ming's Facebook page)

(Image from Peng Chi-ming's Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Although seven other counties and cities had already announced office and school closures on Sunday evening (Sept. 29) in anticipation of Typhoon Mitag's arrival, Hualien County did not make such closures official until 7:30 a.m. this morning, leaving many students, parents, and teachers in the lurch.

By 10 p.m. on Sunday, New Taipei City, Taipei City, Keelung City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu County, Yilan County, and Taitung County (Green Island and Orchid Island) had announced the closure of offices and schools on Monday (Sept. 30) in anticipation of Mitag's wrath. However, it was not until 7:35 a.m. this morning that Hualien Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚) took to Facebook to announce the following:

"According to an additional report released by the CWB at 7 a.m. today, the data for wind and rain has been revised for 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. today. The average wind levels will reach 6-7 level [Beaufort scale] winds, with gusts of up to level 9-10, which is the standard for stopping work and classes. Classes in Hualien County will be canceled for the whole day on Monday [Sept. 30]."

By this time, many parents had already sent their children to school and were blindsided by the news of the suspended classes. Parents quickly turned their cars around and rushed back to pick their children back up, leading to traffic jams outside of schools.

Soon, netizens began to criticize the Hualien County government:

"It was already raining hard in the middle of the night. Why couldn't they announce it earlier?"

"They should have said so earlier, what the hell are they doing?"

"I already went out the door a long time ago."

"All the students and teachers were already at school by the time they made the announcement. Isn't this a bit too slow?"

"Wait until we're soaked in rain before announcing cancelations. That's just great!"

Work and classes for Monday (Sept. 30) have been canceled for Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu County, Yilan County, Hualien County, and five townships in Taitung County due to Typhoon Mitag, according to the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA), Executive Yuan.

Information in English on the latest school and office closures can be found on the DGPA website.