Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday said the ministry would begin preparing to deal with typhoon disasters as soon as the Central Weather Bureau issues any sea alert.
“Our staff should be on high alert from the very first rain cloud they see,” Mao said. “As long as the rainfall reaches a certain level, staff monitoring the bridges and roads will be on alert. We aim for one to three hours of preparation.”
Mao said the ministry was not simply responsible for closing bridges and roads before or after disasters strike, but also aims to form a united front with the Central Weather Bureau, the Water Resources Agency, the Ministry of National Defense and local household registration departments to reduce casualties.
“They will make a list of the elderly, pregnant women, children and disabled residents in a village,” Mao said. “If it is determined that residents in a certain village need to be evacuated immediately, these people should be evacuated first.”
Mao also said that the ministry has changed the standardized procedures for closing bridges after Typhoon Morakot struck the nation in August last year.
“In the past, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) would dispatch persons to monitor changes in water levels, and they would close bridges once the water surged to an alert level,” Mao said. “But what we saw last year was that our staff could potentially monitor the wrong bridge. The bridges we monitored at the head of a river did not collapse, whereas those down stream were washed away by flooding.”
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