President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urged the Cabinet yesterday to start flood prevention work immediately to guard against further flooding as another typhoon approaches.
Visiting Taiping (太平), a city in Taichung County that suffered severe flooding caused by Tropical Storm Kalmaegi early this month, Ma said the Cabinet should work on preventing further flooding in flood-prone areas.
Accompanied by Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) and KMT legislators, Ma asked the Cabinet to proceed with flood prevention work by following four basic principles.
In addition to making flood-prone areas flood-free, Ma urged the Cabinet to draft appropriate strategies, allocate a bigger budget and complete construction works promptly.
“No matter what plans you make and what measures you adopt, flood-prevention would be a failure if the areas continue to suffer from flooding,” he said.
With Typhoon Fung-wong approaching, Ma headed back to Taipei at about 6pm and went to the Central Emergency Response Center to get first-hand information on the storm’s development.
The Ma administration has come under fire over following severe flooding and landslides caused by Tropical Storm Kalmaegi.
Liu has promised to spend NT$500 billion (US$16.4 billion) to expropriate riverside land to dredge rivers.
Asked by reporters to comment on the government’s flood-prevention efforts, Ma had acknowledged that his administration failed to respond promptly to Tropical Storm Kalmaegi, but added that the government would enhance its efforts to prevent further disasters.
“We don’t blame anyone or [the] former government on the flooding problems. We will look ahead and correct all the mistakes made in the past,” he said.
After listening to a briefing about the approaching storm at the center, Liu called on local governments chiefs not relax their guard in preparing anti-typhoon measures.
“If we put in an extra effort in advance, it will save us a lot of trouble afterward,” Liu said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan