Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Flooding in Kaohsiung could have been worse, former Kaohsiung official says

By Hung Ting-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Yongan flood detention pool in Kaohsiung is pictured on Friday.

Photo: Hung Ting-hung, Taipei Times

Excess water from torrential rains on Thursday in Kaohsiung was quickly drained due to 15 retention basins built by the city government, I-Shou University Department of Mass Communication professor Hou Tsun-yao (侯尊堯) said on Friday.

Central and southern Taiwan have been battered by torrential rain since Thursday due to a tropical depression that has been moving slowly over that area, bringing gusty winds and torrential rain, which have caused travel and power disruptions, as well as flooding in Pingtung County, Chiayi County, Tainan and Kaohsiung, among other areas.

The Central Weather Bureau issued an “extremely torrential rain” alert for Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Penghu, meaning it expected accumulated rainfall of 200mm over 24 hours or 100mm in three hours.

Hou from 1995 to 2001 headed then-Kaohsiung County’s Planning and Control Office and doubled as head of the county Information Office. In those capacities, he was involved in hydroengineering efforts on all three major river systems in the area — those of the Love River (愛河), Houjin River (後勁溪) and Cianjhen River (前鎮溪).

Heavy rainfall due to extreme weather patterns is a problem that the US, Japan and many EU countries also face, Hou said, adding that the retention basins in Kaohsiung, while unable to prevent flooding, have reduced the flooded areas by 80 percent.

It is impossible to prevent local flooding following torrential rain, so hydroengineering efforts should be judged according to the rate of water drainage, not whether they prevent floods completely, he said, calling on Kaohsiung residents to maintain solidarity and unite in disaster relief efforts.

Politicians should not try to capitalize on the disaster and gloat over the misery of others, Hou said.

It is unacceptable if politicians try to use the events to gain an edge in the year-end local elections, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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