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Tue, Nov 07, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Taipei promises better preparation for floods in future

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City Deputy Mayor Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) apologized yesterday for the city's performance during recent flooding and called on city residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Bebinca, which is forecast to bring heavy rains today.

"As the chief commander of the rescue team, I apologize to the public for any negligence when Typhoon Xangsane struck," Ou said after a closed-door meeting to review the city's typhoon relief efforts.

Typhoon Xangsane, which battered the island last Wednesday and Thursday and claimed 62 lives, caused the worst flooding the city has seen in many years.

Although classes resumed yesterday and rescue work concluded late Sunday night, Ou said, there is still much room for improvement.

"We'd like to see district administrators, borough wardens and neighborhood chiefs get more involved in the emergency relief efforts in the future, and we will provide training courses to strengthen their response and relief abilities," he said.

In preparation for Tropical Storm Bebinca, Ou said, the city has been closely monitoring the water level of the Keelung River and Chingmei and Hsintien Creeks, which were the sources of major flooding in low-lying areas of the city's flood-prone districts of Wenshan, Neihu and Nankang when Typhoon Xangsane struck.

"Gutter cleaning squads have been working around the clock to dredge the gutters and sewers in the Wenshan, Neihu and Nankang districts. Squad members have so far removed a total of 1,745 tonnes of silt and plan to finish the job by tomorrow afternoon," he said.

In addition, many new methods will be applied in an attempt to better cope with the torrential rain expected today, Ou said.

"This time we plan to observe the water level in mountainous areas instead of in the city," he said.

Ou added that the city also plans to include Keelung City, Ilan County and Taoyuan County in the flood watch system this time.

"We hope the joint forecast contract which we signed with the Cabinet's National Science Council (國科會) six months ago will make the flood watch system more complete, and hopefully it will do some good in the future prevention of flooding," he said.

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