Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Foreign officials meet to discuss disaster management

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

High-ranking officials from several Southeast Asian and Pacific countries this week met in Taipei to discuss disaster mitigation.

The Solomon Islands — one of Taiwan’s 17 diplomatic allies — sent several officials to a conference at National Taiwan University on Monday. They included Mataki Mei — permanent secretary of Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology — and Solomon Islands Meteorological Services Division Director David Hiba Hiriasia.

Conference organizers, mainly from Academia Sinica’s Institute of Earth Sciences, played a low-key role due to rumors of unstable Taiwan-Solomon Islands ties.

Officials from the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor and New Zealand also attended the conference, alongside Vice Minister of Science and Technology Tsou Yu-han (鄒幼涵) and other science officials.

A workshop on landslide studies and seismology, and a Taiwan-Thailand forum were held on Tuesday.

A total of 37 foreign officials attended the meetings.

New Zealand scientists from yesterday to tomorrow would be visiting facilities related to natural disasters, the institute said, adding that some foreign representatives have left.

Taiwan has not witnessed volcanic eruptions in its recorded history, and can learn from the Philippines and Indonesia, where there are many active volcanoes, said institute deputy director Lin Cheng-horng (林正洪), also director of the Taiwan Volcano Observatory.

Japan is also increasing volcanic research in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan could benefit from extending collaboration to more countries, he added.

Taiwan is building warning systems for earthquakes occurring in the South China Sea, which would also foster the development of new automated control systems on elevators and buses to mitigate disasters, Eastern Taiwan Earthquake Research Center director Chang Wen-yen (張文彥) said.

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