1. Face environmental changes head-on, remain alert, and be well-prepared
(1) The torrential rains on August 23 shed more than 500 mm of rain in 29 of the 37 administrative districts in Tainan within 24 hours, with 18 districts exhibiting more than 600 mm of rain. This amount of rainfall exceeded that of the August 7th flood in 1959 and the rainfall in plain areas during Typhoon Morakot. At the same time, Japan was struck with the biggest typhoon in 25 years and a major earthquake, resulting in many casualties. Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Keelung City, which have the most comprehensive flood prevention infrastructure also exhibited flooding after a recent rainstorm. Weather specialists have cautioned that due to environmental changes, extreme weather will gradually become the norm. Both the government and the populace must keep this in mind and make necessary preparations to minimize damage caused by natural disasters.
(2) We have put in substantial effort to protect Tainan from flooding. However, the recent torrential rains have exceeded our infrastructure’s protection standards of a 200-year recurrence interval. As a result, many places in Tainan became flooded. This is a reminder that much improvement is needed. The Tainan City Government will continue to petition for a larger water treatment budget from the Central Government. Nevertheless, constructing flood prevention facilities involves issues such as land use planning, land expropriation, and demolition and relocation. Cooperation from the local level up is required for these projects to be successfully implemented. When citizens protest against building flood prevention facilities, or reject these projects, gaps are created in Tainan’s flood prevention barrier, resulting in a faulty flood prevention system. I sincerely urge citizens to join the Tainan City Government in protecting our home by ensuring the effectiveness of our flood prevention facilities.
(3) So far, all units are still working on post-disaster restoration. Many of the staff members of the Tainan City Government were themselves affected by the flood, yet they have devoted their time and effort to serve affected citizens first. I would like to thank all of our staff members for their devotion and hard work. According to the weather forecast, a typhoon might pass by Taiwan in the coming days. We must expedite our post-disaster restoration efforts and start preparing for the Typhoon to guarantee the safety of Tainan’s citizenry.
2. The Public Works Bureau has resolved all road damage caused by torrential rains
(1) After the torrential rains on August 23, many potholes of various sizes emerged downtown. Several vehicles even became lodged in larger depressions. Although no severe injuries were reported, the Tainan City Government would like to extend our most sincere apologies. As of August 23, more than 2,000 asphalt concrete (AC) potholes have been reported, all of which were filled in by the Public Works Bureau within 24 hours. I would like to thank Director-General Su and the staff members of the Public Works Bureau for their hard work. In accordance with our current mechanisms, general damages will be repaired upon request. There is no need to worry.
(2) When Tainan was upgraded as a special municipality, a road-smoothing project was launched. We have collaborated with inspection units to conduct unscheduled road inspections, thereby ensuring construction quality. The recent spike in the number of potholes was caused by sequential typhoons and torrential rains this summer. As a result, roads that are heavily used exhibit water seepage, which makes them prone to collapsing when cars pass by. Tainan is home to Taiwan’s only two AC plants. In response to this natural type of damage, the two plants supplied material for filling up potholes round-the-clock, ensuring the quality of the newly paved roads. Almost no potholes were reported on roads upgraded under the road-smoothing project, highlighting the excellent construction quality of Tainan’s road-smoothing project.
(3) Reports indicated that several cars became lodged in potholes. Most of these cases were caused by aged and damaged underground drainage or sewage systems and pipes. Sites with underground pipe damage are prone to degradation, which means that the soil is drained through the broken pipes, and over time, hallow pockets are formed. The torrential rains expedited this process, and large depressions formed in the roads. The Public Works Bureau, Water Resources Bureau, and concerned departments have completed emergency repairs, and these roads have been re-opened. The Public Works Bureau has also ordered comprehensive inspections of all underground pipelines, especially ones that are more than 20 years old. Ground-penetrating radars are used to inspect major road sections to minimize the risks of depressions forming in the road. The sinkhole on Linan Street that trapped a crane formed because of an old box culvert. When the Water Resources Bureau was replacing the box culvert, the old box culvert could not handle the weight of the construction vehicles, and it collapsed. This case was unrelated to the torrential rains or the quality of the road-smoothing project. I urge the Water Resources Bureau to clarify this with the public to prevent further misunderstandings. I would like to ask the Public Works Bureau and Water Resources Bureau to convene a press conference to explain how the Tainan City Government has responded to and repaired depressions caused by old pipelines or ruptured tap water pipes to give citizens peace of mind.
3. Working round-the-clock to drain flood water deposited in a collapsed private box culvert on Zhinghua Road in Yongkang District
(1) Last week, Ally 154 on Zhonghua Road, Yongkang District, became flooded. However, flooding did not occur in this location during the torrential rains on August 23. The Water Resources Bureau and Public Works Bureau responded immediately and collaborated with the Bureau of Civil Affairs and the district office in pumping out the flood water and removing vehicles. The Secretariat-General was also on site to supervise. I would like to credit all of these departments for successfully removing the flood water in a short amount of time.
(2) An investigation confirmed that the culprit of the flood was a collapsed old box culvert built by a private construction company. The collapsed box culvert obstructed underground water drainage. This private box culvert was built 30 to 40 years ago and was not a public facility constructed by the local government. Thus, when first responding to this incident, we did not have sufficient information on this box culvert. After sending technicians into the box culvert, the blockage was located, and the Water Resources Bureau and Public Works Bureau launched heavy machinery round-the-clock to excavate the blockage. Eight meters of the blockage were removed, but yesterday, another collapse was found nearby. The Secretary-General, the Director-General of the Water Resources Bureau, technicians, and I entered the box culvert last night to gain a better understanding of the problem. To prevent even larger collapses from forming and damaging nearby houses, and to ensure the safety of the excavation staff, adjustments were made to the excavation method. The staff members of the Water Resources Bureau and Public Works Bureau have installed a working shaft overnight. I ask the staff members to focus all efforts on completing this task before the typhoon strikes. Thank you all for your hard work. After this task has been completed, I would like to ask the Water Resources Bureau to plan a comprehensive box culvert system in place of the existing private box culvert, and to begin construction work as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem. Before the current box culvert is replaced, enhancements should be made to prevent further collapses.
(3) In the previously mentioned incidents, the technicians found that all of these box culverts were severely rusted and damaged. Similar box culverts were installed during the early stages of Tainan’s urban development, and they play an indispensable role in the drainage of Tainan’s city center. I would like to ask the Water Resources Bureau to make an inventory of these box culverts and make necessary repairs. To prevent similar incidents from recurring, please also ask for support from the Central Government as soon as possible for conducting a comprehensive box culvert health inspection.
1. The Agriculture Bureau’s report on avian flu prevention (refer to written sources for details)
Decision: Approved for reference filing.
(1) The Tainan City Government has always treated avian flu with great caution. In the early months of 2018, the Tainan City Government enhanced its early warning and monitoring measures for avian flu. High-risk water birds, free-range chicken, and egg-laying hens were screened for avian flu, which ensured that infected birds were terminated before any outbreaks occurred. Disinfection vehicles were also commissioned to disinfect areas surrounding poultry farms, thereby effectively reducing the avian flu viral count in the environment.
(2) The Tainan City Government has continued to require poultry farms to install comprehensive wild bird prevention facilities and to employ biosafety and disease prevention measures, thus safeguarding the health of the birds and maintaining the profitability of the business. With the Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office of the Agriculture Bureau, concerned departments, and district office personnel all working together to prevent avian flu, the number of farms with reported cases of avian flu have been reduced to five this year. I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation in preventing avian flu, for safeguarding the health of Tainan’s citizenry, and for minimizing agricultural loss.
(3) The weather remains hot, but autumn has arrived. There is still a chance that avian flu outbreaks might occur, especially after the recent torrential rains. Thus, we urge poultry farm owners to comply with all biosafety measures. I would like to ask the Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office of the Agriculture Bureau to continue to oversee and assist poultry farm owners in implementing disease prevention measures. We must be fully prepared before winter arrives. Let us all work together to prevent avian flu outbreaks, maintain the safety of the poultry industry, and safeguard citizens’ health.
2. The Tourism Bureau’s report on the 2018 Guanzihling Hot Spring and Food Festival (refer to written sources for details)
Decision: Approved for reference filing.
(1) Guanzihling has long been an iconic scenic area in Tainan. It is also Taiwan’s only mud spring. In early 2018, Guanzihling was named the first of the ten best hot springs in Taiwan by the Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications. This year marks the 14th year that the Guanzihling Hot Spring and Food Festival, an important tourism event in Tainan, has been held. As hot springs have a marked busy season, I would like to thank Director-General Wang and the staff members of the Tourism Bureau for collaborating with local businesses and for launching the festival early in September since 2015. This decision effectively extends the busy season of the Guanzihling Hot Springs. Guanzihling’s visitors reached 1.4 million in 2016, among which 200,000 visited during the festival, which is a remarkable achievement.
(2) In recent years, the Guanzihling Hot Spring and Food Festival has effectively attracted crowds and business opportunities for local businesses. Five-hundred sets of tickets for packaged tours have been launched for this year’s Guanzihling Hot Spring and Food Festival, encompassing food, clothing, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, and shopping. And for the first time, the Guanzihling-Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum route of the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle has been included in the packages, making transportation easier for tourists traveling to Tainan by the High-Speed Rail. A package that includes entrance tickets to the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum and MEIYA Furniture Tourism Factory is also available for the first time, adding extra attraction to this year’s deals.
(3) This year, the Tourism Bureau has continued to collaborate with the Agriculture Bureau on a promotion where tourists who stay at a hotel on a weekday get a barrel boiled chicken for free. Furthermore, the Tourism Bureau has joined hands with Longhu Mountain Ecological Farm, Fairy Lake Leisure Farm, and Lizihyuan Community and launched six limited tours via the Tainan Fun Card Platform. Other than enjoying the mud springs at Guanzihling, tourists can also visit Dongshan District and experience orange picking, longan roasting, and coffee tasting. As these tours are connected with the industries in the greater Guanzihling area, they offer businesses in the area greater exposure. I would like to ask the Tourism Bureau to build on this experience and to continue to provide consultation and integrate and collaborate with local businesses, thereby further increasing the growth of the tourism industry in the Guanzihling Hot Springs area.