With the south of the country suffering from serious flooding, the Cabinet yesterday urged the legislature to meet next month to pass a Special Flood Control Act as well as delayed legislation including the arms-procurement package and the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法).
Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said a Special Flood Control Act was a priority given that half of the country was suffering from damaging floodwaters.
"It is our sincere hope that lawmakers can help us on this issue because we will definitely regret it next year if we do not launch the project in its entirety," he said.
Cho said the act was proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on March 14 and authorized by the Cabinet on May 18 before being submitted to the legislature the next day. Lawmakers then began to review the proposal on May 27, but no progress has been made since.
The spokesman said that the statute contains comprehensive plans for bank construction and deepening riverbeds. The package has a budget of NT$80 billion (US$2.5 billion) and construction is expected to be finished within eight years, he said.
"Flooding has become a new nightmare for the Taiwanese. Several locations [around the country] are flooded twice every summer. And even in places where there has never been a flood problem there is a threat of flooding now," Cho said. "It takes time and money to solve these problems. We now have a comprehensive plan, but we need the green light to make a start."
Cho said that it was the government's job to help the public avoid suffering from floods.
"I hope that lawmakers feel the same way," he said.
The spokesman said that he understood that the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was busy with its election for party chairman. He said he still hoped his KMT friends would help organize an extraordinary legislative session for next month and accelerate the process of approving the proposals.
In addition to military assistance on the ground, the Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Administration have begun to take precautions against the spread of disease in flood-affected areas.
The Council of Agriculture has also begun to accept applications for reimbursement from farmers whose produce has been destroyed by floodwaters.
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