President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday during a visit to one of the villages hardest hit by Typhoon Morakot last month that his administration would do its utmost so that people do not have to live in fear of natural disasters.
“The government will work to the best of its ability to protect the public from living with the fear of natural disasters,” Ma said during an inspection of Sinfong Village (新豐) in Pingtung County’s Gaoshu Township (高樹).
Ma was met by a teary Liao Lin Mei-lan upon his arrival.
Liao, who previously lived beside the Jiouliao dike along the Laonong River (荖濃溪), which was washed away by floods, told Ma that her home and farmland had been destroyed.
When the Jiouliao dike burst, it washed away 117 hectares of farmland that the 60-plus Sinfong households relied upon for their income.
“The dike has burst twice in the past, but we hope that this time the rebuilt embankment will be able to withstand flooding to ensure our safety,” she told Ma. “We hope the president himself will oversee the project.”
In response, Ma said he would see to it that the reconstruction project was completed before next May’s plum rains.
Ma said the new dike and other flood-prevention projects would be able to withstand a “once-in-200-years” flood, while the previous infrastructure had been designed to withstand once-in-a-century flooding.
At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the central government would publicize a post-Morakot report on Wednesday.
Wu told a press conference after presiding over his first post-typhoon reconstruction committee meeting last week that the government was expected to complete its evaluation of mudslide-prone areas by today.
People living in areas that are not safe will be relocated in accordance with the Post-Typhoon Morakot Reconstruction Special Act (莫拉克颱風災後重建特別條例), Wu said, adding that the act had made it much easier for the government to acquire land for relocation purposes.
The central government and civic groups helping to build housing will share responsibility for building public facilities for the new communities, Wu said.
Wu said residents who needed to relocate would have to make a choice by next Saturday.
In addition to the government’s NT$120 billion (US$3.6 billion) special budget request for reconstruction, the government will use next year’s budget earmarked for less urgent government projects to carry out reconstruction work, Wu said.