Fri, Jun 08, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Councilors pan Hau over floods

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Shih-cheng holds up photographs of Taipei's Shezi Island taken after Tuesday's sudden downpour at a press conference yesterday where he demanded that Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin propose an anti-flood plan and take responsibility for the flooding.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Disappointed at the Taipei City Government's handling of the flooding in Shezi Island (社子島) and Beitou (北投) late on Tuesday night, the Taipei City Council yesterday demanded that Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) present an evaluation report and compensate affected residents.

The sudden torrential rainfall on Tuesday night flooded a total of 94 houses in the two areas, and attracted complaints from local residents and boroughs chiefs about the city government's slow response to the damage.

City councilors from all parties yesterday joined in condemning the city government for failing to provide immediate assistance, urging it to give affected residents subsidies as it did after Typhoon Nari hit the nation in 2001.

While acknowledging the city government's negligence, Hau said the government would provide subsidies according to rules of the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act (災害防救法).

Hau blamed the central government for refusing to approve the Shezi Island flood prevention project, and urged it to approve the project when it is resubmitted by the end of next month.

Before construction of long-term flood prevention measures proceed, Hau said the city government would dig water-collecting wells in Shezi Island in the next month as a temporary solution.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors Hsu Chia-chin (徐佳青) and Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤), and Taiwan Solidarity Union Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏), however, continued to attack the city government's handling of the flooding, and accused Hau of ignoring the development of Shezi Island.

"The city government has been ignoring the development of the island. Flooding has been a serious problem for the area, and local residents are treated like second-class citizens," Hsu said.

The council later agreed that the city government should establish a special team to investigate negligence in the handling of the flooding, and demanded Hau present a report on damage-control measures regarding the flooding.

The Taipei City Water Conservancy Office said Shezi Island is prone to flooding and Tuesday's rain exceeded the capacity of the area's drainage system, causing the most serious flooding in five years.

According to information from the Central Weather Bureau, Miaoli County had the largest accumulated rainfall in the nation yesterday. Between midnight and 5:30pm yesterday, Houlung (後龍),Touwu (頭屋), and Sanwan (三灣) each recorded accumulated rainfall of more than 200mm, the bureau said.

The nation's agricultural losses because of torrential rain in the current plum rain season, as of Wednesday, were estimated at NT$11.4 million (US$345,000), a Council of Agriculture official said.

The two counties worst affected are Changhua County, with losses of NT$11.16 million, and Miaoli County, with losses of about NT$242,000, the official said.

Farmland covering 255 hectares has seen 28 percent of its area damaged, which is the equivalent of 72 hectares rendered useless because of the heavy rains, the official said, adding that the most seriously damaged farms were those producing watermelons, green onions, cabbages or wax gourds.

Additional reporting by staff writer and CNA

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