Typhoon Nari, one of the biggest challenges faced by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during his tenure thus far, caused yet another stir yesterday when DPP city councilors boycotted the mayor's report on the city's response to the typhoon.
"We oppose letting the mayor take the floor because we are utterly disappointed with the report he's scheduled to deliver," said DPP City Councilor and caucus convener Chiang Kai-shih (江蓋世).
Chiang also asked that the council form a task force to conduct another investigation into the consequences of the disaster and mete out more "reasonable disciplinary measures" against municipal officials found responsible.
Council spokeswoman Wu Pi-chu (
Ma, who had to wait for a stream of DPP city councilors to voice their discontent, delivered the report nearly an hour and a half late.
The mayor said that the city had done its best with relief efforts and has carefully reviewed its performance during and after the disaster.
"We've done what we can, although there's still room for improvement," Ma said. "I'm willing to assume political responsibility and would like to apologize again to the public."
Typhoon Nari, which ravaged the nation from Sept. 16 to 19, killed 94 people, including 27 in Taipei City. It was the heaviest deluge ever recorded in the city's history.
More than 13 percent of the city's area, or 3,770 hectares covering 197 boroughs, experienced serious flooding. Eight of the 69 pumping stations built to control flooding along the city's many kilometers of dikes succumbed to the deluge and failed.
Many underground segments of the MRT system as well as the system's control center located in the basement of the Taipei Main Station were also seriously flooded. Parts of the system still remain out of service, including the heavily damaged control center.
Equipment was so badly damaged that the system is not scheduled to become operational until the middle of December and will not resume automatic operation until March of next year.
Investigations conducted by the city government concluded that 20 municipal officials and staff were negligent and have been disciplined.
While five received reprimands, those who received two demerits are Tu Tien-shun (杜天順), a garbage truck driver with the Bureau of Environmental Protection, and Hsu Wen-jui (徐文瑞), assistant engineer at the Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS).
Those who received one demerit are Richard Chen (陳椿亮), president of the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp; Chang Hsiao-hai (張曉海), a DORTS engineer; and Lin Cheng-yuan (林正源), a driver attached to the Chungshan District Office.
In addition, the directors of the Bureau of Civil Affairs, the Bureau of Environmental Protection, the Bureau of Public Works, and the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp all received reprimands for their departments' failures.
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