Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei promises to improve lifeboat launch ramps

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Councilors and emergency service personnel inspect a lifeboat launch ramp in Taipei City on Thursday. Several launch ramps on the Tamsui and Keelung rivers have become silted, hampering rescue work during low tide.

PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNCILOR WU SU-YAO

The Taipei City Government yesterday promised to improve the six lifeboat launch ramps used for rescues along the Keelung and Tamsui rivers after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors condemned the authorities over their poor maintenance.

The six rescue ramps, which cost the city government NT$23 million (US$681,000) to build, were suffering from serious silt problems that made it difficult for rescue teams to save people because lifeboats often got stuck in the mud, DPP Taipei City councilors Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) and Chou Wei-yo (周威佑) told a press conference yesterday.

The silt problem at Sanjiao Ramp in Shilin District (士林), for example, limited the time lifeboats could be launched into the river to only four hours per day, Wu said.

The city government旧 failure to maintain the lifeboats and other rescue equipment also affected the efficiency of rescue work, Chou said. Of 209 lifeboats owned by the Taipei City Fire Department, 163 were old and needed replacing, he said.

Chou said the number of people who commit suicide by jumping into the rivers in Taipei City had increased over the years, and the city government should strengthen its efforts to save more lives.

In response, Taipei City Hydraulic Office deputy director Huang Chi-feng (黃治峰) acknowledged the silt problem at the ramps, promising to dredge them as soon as possible.

Yo Chia-chu (游家祝), a division chief in the department, said the department purchased 10 new lifeboats in both 2007 and last year, and would replace the old lifeboats.

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