The Greater Kaohsiung District Court yesterday ruled against the appeal for NT$590 million (US$19.5 million) in damages by family members of residents killed in the Siaolin Village (小林) disaster, when the area was struck by Typhoon Morakot five years ago.
Villagers who were in the courtroom said they would appeal the ruling.
The landslide triggered by Morakot covered Siaolin Village in Greater Kaohsiung, killing 462 residents. Family members of people who were killed said they were dissatisfied with the city government for what they said was a lack of effort to prevent disasters.
Morakot struck on Aug. 7, 2009, causing catastrophic damage in parts of southern Taiwan, leaving more than 600 dead. It caused nearly NT$200 billion in total damages across the nation, nearly 1.6 percent of the nation’s GDP for that year.
The residents and family members of the deceased initially asked for NT$2.4 billion, but after being rebuffed by the Greater Kaohsiung Government fire department and district offices in Namasiya District (那瑪夏), Taoyuan District (桃源) and Jiasian District (甲仙), 175 members filed a suit with the district court asking for NT$590 million in damages.
The Siaolin Village Rebuilding and Development Association said in 2011 the primary functions of the association were to investigate why Morakot had wiped out the village and assist the families of people killed in the disaster to apply for state compensation.
Residents have asked that the local government and a local township office pay compensation for a “flawed rescue effort” during the typhoon.
The villagers protested the ruling and said their primary concern was not monetary compensation, but justice.
“We will be appealing the ruling,” the villagers said outside the court yesterday.