Thu, Jun 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Heavy rainfall floods northern Taipei

MORE ON THE WAY The chances for heavy showers remain high across the nation this week as a stationary front is likely to continue lingering above the country

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

A man mops up water in a flooded motorcycle shop on Zhongyang S Rd in Beitou, Taipei City, yesterday. The owners piled shop equipment on top of tables to save it from the water as heavy rain flooded the street.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei City's Shezi Island (社子島) and Beitou District (北投) were flooded by a sudden downpour late on Tuesday night, prompting the Taipei City Government to put together a disaster response team to provide assistance to affected residents.

A total of 94 houses in the two areas were flooded on Tuesday night and the city government later delivered nine pumps to relieve the flooding, Taipei City Water Conservancy Office chief engineer Huang Chih-feng (黃治峰) said.

Shezi Island is prone to flooding and Tuesday's rain exceeded the capacity of the area's drainage system, causing the most serious flooding in five years, Huang said.

The 15 pumping stations on Shezi Island have the capacity to pump out only about 33 percent of the floodwater in the area.

While inspecting the flooding in Shilin and Beitou districts, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said that the sudden downpour and the unfinished construction of drainage systems had caused the flooding.

Hau also pledged to provide more pumps for Shezi Island and castigated the central government for failing to approve a flood prevention project for the area.

In response to local residents' complaints about the city government's slow response to the flooding, Hau said directors of the Public Works Department visited the flooded areas on Tuesday night and stayed there until about 3am yesterday.

"There was no delay in handling the flooding ... During the rainy season, we call on the public to stay alert and be prepared for sudden downpours," he added.

Hau said the city government had already formed a damage response team and would inspect drainage systems around the city.

The damage response team also worked with local borough chiefs to provide immediate assistance to residents.

With more torrential rainfall expected, especially in the areas of Zhuzihu (竹子湖), Shipai (石牌), Guandu (關渡), Tianmu (天母), Shilin (士林) and Waishuangxi (外雙溪), Hau canceled a six-day trip to Venice, Italy.

Hau had planned to leave for Venice late last night to attend the 52nd Venice Biennale activities and preside over the opening ceremony of the Taiwan Pavilion at the exhibition.

The Central Weather Bureau said yesterday the chances of heavy showers remained high nationwide this week as a stationary front will continue to linger above the country.

The heavy rain began on Tuesday night and continued until yesterday morning.

Between 12am and 3pm yesterday, the accumulated rain in many of the regions in Taipei exceeded 200mm, the bureau said.

Overall, the average rain per hour in northern Taiwan yesterday was between 40mm and 50mm, it added.

The bureau cautioned that residents who live in low-lying areas should take precautions against flooding.

Additional reporting by Shelley Shan

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