Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 2 News List

River structures damaged by Mindulle almost fixed

EMBANKMENTS Tropical Storm Mindulle wreaked havoc with infrastructure protecting communities from flooding, but repairs will be finished within days


The more than 80 embankments and drain networks damaged in flooding brought by Tropical Storm Mindulle earlier this month will be repaired by the end of the week, the Water Resources Agency said yesterday.

Landslides and mudflows in mountainous areas on July 2 resulted in the destruction or damaging of embankments along lower reaches of major rivers. Embankments along Tachia River and Choshui River in the center of the country and Laonung River in the south were severely damaged.

After the storm, the agency listed 84 sites that needed to be repaired to ensure public safety. By yesterday, agency engineers had completed repairs on 48 of them. Urgent repair work is continuing on another 25.

One of two coastal embankments that collapsed during the storm has also been repaired, while five of nine drain networks have been tested and declared to be fully operational.

"All 84 of the damaged structures will be repaired by the end of [the week] if there isn't more heavy rain," agency deputy chief engineer Tsai Yi-fa (蔡義發) told the Taipei Times yesterday.

repairs delayed

But afternoon thundershowers in the center of the country in recent days had delayed repairs, he said.

Tsai also said that 95 other structures were awaiting funds for repairs and maintenance. He said that safety considerations demanded that the structures be repaired by next May, when the next rainy season begins. Other projects requiring new funding will be sent to the Public Construction Council next week for review.

In the wake of damage brought by Mindulle, the agency has been criticized in some quarters over the failure of many structures to withstand the floodwaters.

Officials at the council, which promotes ecological engineering methods in the development of public infrastructure, said that the agency's reliance on cement meant that its projects could be environmentally unfriendly.

unusual rainfall

However, agency officials res-ponded by saying that the volume of rainfall brought by Mindulle in many places was highly unusual. In Nantou County, for example, 166.5mm of rain was recorded in one hour, a figure higher than that of previous devastating typhoons.

When Typhoon Toraji struck the nation in July 2001, 146.5mm was recorded in one hour in Hualien County. When Typhoon Nari hit the north of the country in September 2001, 142mm fell in one hour in Ilan County.

Agency officials also said that Mindulle dumped 2,142.5mm over a few days in Kaohsiung, which amounts to 90 percent of the nation's annual average.

Tsai said the failure of some structures had been carefully reviewed and that new engineering methods would be utilized to avoid similar failures in future.

On July 5, a floodgate at the Liyutan Reservoir malfunctioned, causing the water supply to be suspended to the Taichung area. Water was cut off to more than 2 million people for several days.

Tsai said that operations of reservoirs would be impoved.

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