Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Relief payments to aid flood victims: Lai

COMPENSATION:The premier asked politicians to stop bickering and help, as he announced NT$20,000 payments, tax deductions and interest relief for flood victims

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Premier William Lai talks to locals while visiting Tainan’s Madou District to inspect flooding yesterday.

Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

A tropical depression that has devastated parts of central and southern Taiwan since Thursday has resulted in six fatalities, 93 injuries and the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people, the Central Emergency Operation Center said yesterday.

As of 5pm yesterday, torrential rain had caused NT$369.03 million (US$11.99 million) in agricultural losses and cause NT$20 million worth of damage to 193 schools, Council of Agriculture and Ministry of Education statistics showed.

Each household affected by the flooding is to receive a relief payment of NT$20,000 from the government, Premier William Lai (賴清德) announced yesterday while visiting Kaohsiung, Tainan, Yunlin County and Chiayi County to inspect damaged areas.

Those affected might also qualify for tax deductions depending on the severity of the damage, Lai said, adding that people who must rebuild their homes can also apply for interest relief on loans.

The council has been instructed to launch its natural disaster relief system, he said, adding that local governments should report agricultural losses to the council as soon as possible so farmers can receive relief funds.

He also apologized to flooding victims and asked politicians across party lines to stop partisan bickering and come together to assist with disaster relief efforts.

“I shoulder all the responsibility; any blame should be directed at me,” he said while inspecting Chiayi County, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Farmers in the five municipalities can apply for relief funds and low-interest loans, and local governments are to receive applications from today to Sept. 4, including holidays, the council said.

Chiayi County suffered the most serious agricultural losses totaling NT$286.64 million, followed by Tainan with NT$49.31 million and Yunlin County with NT$16.7 million, the council’s Agriculture and Food Agency said.

The husbandry industry also lost NT$150.55 million worth of livestock after floodwaters killed more than 1.38 million chickens, 58,000 ducks, 6,327 pigs and thousands of other farm animals, the agency added.

The most-damaged crops were tomatoes, followed by peanuts, edible corn, watermelons and bananas, it said.

Vegetables yesterday were selling at an average price of NT$40 per kilogram at Taipei’s fruit and vegetable wholesale markets, NT$5.6 more than on Friday, the agency said, but added that the supply of vegetables is sufficient and their prices remain reasonable.

The higher prices mainly resulted from damaged farmland in Chiayi and Yunlin counties and Kaohsiung, while the closure of Taipei’s markets today and tomorrow for yesterday’s Ghost Festival (中元節) was another factor, it said.

The tropical depression caused limited traffic disruptions yesterday, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.

Air traffic was generally normal, except for two delayed local flights, the ministry said, adding that all train and high-speed rail services were operating as usual.

Lai urged the public to remain vigilant, as torrential rainfall is forecast across the nation over the next four days.

The tropical depression was moving slowly west-northwest toward southeastern China, but its outer rim might continue to bring stormy weather to central and southern Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Another tropical depression has formed in waters south of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and was moving in a northwesterly direction, but its potential effects on Taiwan are still being investigated, it added.

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