Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-08-30 03:23 PM
When the storm moved north along the east coast of Taiwan Thursday, most of the rain actually fell in southwestern parts of the country, including Tainan. As a result, the city government saw itself forced to announce the closure of schools and offices beginning around noon, a timing which was slammed as too late by the public. The evening before, the city had officially announced Thursday would be a normal working day.
When Premier Jiang Yi-huah visited the area Friday morning to inspect the damage, Lai slammed the weather bureau’s forecasts and blamed it for issuing confusing predictions causing local governments to become the subject of unfair blame.
Before Jiang arrived, Lai showed the documents he had received from the weather bureau. The amounts of rain forecast were not enough to warrant the closure of schools and offices, he said.
He repeated his complaints to the premier, adding that the predictions were not clear, making it impossible for local governments to reach the appropriate conclusion.
The weather bureau replied it did predict serious amounts of torrential rain for Tainan as well as for other regions. Decisions to close offices and schools should take both the amount of rain and wind strength into account, the bureau said.
In Chiayi County, Magistrate Chang Hwa-kuan kneeled in front of Jiang to plead for extra budgets to fight flooding. Jiang responded by pointing out the central government’s financial difficulties, but promised to hold discussions. Earlier, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan had lashed out at her government for reacting too late in activating its emergency disaster response center.
Confusion also reigned in Changhua City Friday, where the city government announced schools would close again at noon after opening for the first day after the summer holiday earlier in the morning. The county government said the closures should only affect city-run schools and institutions, adding to the confusion.
Employees of the Changhua County Government continued to work normally, even though their offices were situated in Changhua City, reports said.
At the Legislative Yuan, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said the NT$1.47 billion (US$49 million) budgeted for water projects next year was insufficient and should be rejected. One eight-year NT$80 billion (US$2.6 billion) plan was coming to an end next year and should be followed by a second one, the DPP argued.
Instead of spending a limited budget each year, the government should focus on one extensive master plan, the opposition said. A six-year NT$61.5 billion (US$2 billion) project proposed by former Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang to improve water management of easily flooded areas had been vetoed by the Cabinet’s Council for Economic Planning and Development, DPP lawmakers said.