Chen Chu: There will be no pipelines unless they are safe
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-03 08:36 PM
Sunday afternoon Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu paid a visit to the funeral home where arrangements are being made to handle some of the victims in the explosions. Chen burned incense to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost. She announced that families of those who died in the blasts will receive a payment of NT$3 million including NT$200,000 in cash and a check for NT$2.8 million. Chen promised that all families will be compensated and pledged that the government will conduct a full investigation into how the incident happened in order to ensure that nothing like this will happen again.

Several family members cried out to the mayor, "How could this happen in Kaohsiung?" Some said they are afraid to go out on the street for fear another explosion could occur at any time. A number of people fell to their knees, moving Chen to stop and apologize to families one by one as she choked back tears. She told them that the city government will establish a single window to handle payments and paperwork, prompting one family member to plead, "We hope you will take the initiative to come to us, so we don’t have to go to the city."

In the aftermath of the explosions in Kaohsiung the city government is taking steps to clean up roads in the area to ensure access to residents and local businesses as they work to rebuild and repair damage. In response to some who expressed their worries that the danger could still be there if pipelines are simply buried again, Mayor Chen said, "There will be no pipelines unless they are safe."

The gas explosions generated in Thursday’s incident stretched along an incredible six kilometers in an area of about three square kilometers. Public Works and Water Conservancy Bureaus of the city plan to refill and resurface area roadways as soon as possible. They add that they will see that storm drains in the area carry away rainwater smoothly and quickly to ensure the well-being of the neighborhood.

A spokesperson for the Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau has noted that the bureau has asked the oil company China Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to act as quickly as possible in emptying the estimated 260 tons of propylene said to be remaining in the 26 kilometers of 6-inch pipeline originating at its Tashe refinery. The EPB made the request in order to ensure the safety of people living and working near the pipeline in the Kaohsiung area.

After chairing a meeting at the Disaster Response Center Sunday Mayor Chen visited Wu-chuan Elementary School for a briefing on relief efforts and the situation of residents and workers in the neighborhood. She burned incense to honor borough chief Chen Chin-fa, who was among those who lost their lives in the explosions. Bowing deeply, Chen expressed her deepest condolences and promised that the city will continue to do all it can to ensure the safety of its citizens, adding, "I'm sorry, we have not done enough."

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