Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Lien blasts government's 921 reconstruction efforts

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday questioned the government's progress in post-921 quake rehabilitation work and said the government ought to apologize to the public for its less than optimal reconstruction efforts.

"I hope the government will step forward and apologize to people here for letting them stay in [these temporary prefabricated-housing complexes] for the past four years [since the 921 earthquake,]" Lien said while visiting victims of the 921 earthquake in Tsaotun Township (草屯鎮), Nantou County.

As part of the government's emergency settlement measures, the prefabricated-housing complexes are temporary housing units built to accommodate those left homeless by the 7.3 Richter scale-magnitude quake which shook Taiwan four years ago.

Today marked the fourth anniversary of the 921 earthquake.

More than 51,000 homes collapsed and 53,768 others were severely damaged. Approximately 2,000 temporary prefabricated-housing complexes are still being used as shelters.

Noting that the prefabricated-housing arrangement might expire at the end of this year and the homes dismantled, some quake victims told Lien that they wouldn't know where to go if the government asked them to move out of their temporary homes.

Lien, reacting to the complaints, criticized the government for being inefficient and called into question the amount of progress that has really been made in rehabilitation.

"A month ago President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that all reconstruction projects are more than 95 percent complete, but other government officials in charge of the projects said a few days ago that the projects are 75 percent complete," Lien said.

"However, according to information from the Ministry of Audit, the reconstruction work is only 45 percent completed."

"Which statistics should we believe?" Lien asked, lambasting the government for confusing the public with different versions of the truth.

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