1. Extreme weather and torrential rains have become the norm, we must respond with appropriate water treatment measures
(1) The torrential rain of August 23 has drawn attention to the effectiveness of Tainan’s water treatment. In accordance with the Water Resources Agency’s overall water treatment plan, it would take 30 years and NT $65 billion to ensure a ten-year protection period and a 25-year flood free period for more than 100 waterways in Tainan. Currently, improvement work has been completed for one-third of these waterways. The Tainan City Government has employed contingency measures to enhance the protective qualities of certain sections; nevertheless, further work is required to improve Tainan’s water treatment. While formulating future treatment approaches, extreme weather conditions should be taken into consideration. Nowadays, rainfall often reaches 300 mm within 24 hours, which exceeds the existing protective limits of Tainan’s waterways. During the torrential rain of August 22, many places saw a daily rainfall of more than 600 mm, with rainfall reaching 700 mm in certain areas. To respond to increasingly extreme weather, we must consider what approaches to take when formulating water treatment plans, thereby effectively providing a safer environment for citizens.
(2) Tainan’s water treatment has improved substantially over the past few years. However, the rainfall in recent years has often exceeded our flood prevention standards. For instance, the June 12 torrential rain in 2005 flooded 18,000 hectares of land. Typhoon Morakot in 2009 also flooded 55,000 hectares of land, with 71,000 houses with flooding higher than 50 cm. The scale of the August 22 torrential rain was even larger than that of the June 12 torrential rain and Typhoon Morakot, yet less land and fewer houses became flooded, proving that there is a certain level of effectiveness to Tainan’s water treatment efforts. The rainfall during the August 22 torrential rain was simply too extreme. More than 800 mm of rainfall within 24 hours was recorded in the mountains, and many plain areas, such as Madou, recorded 700 mm of rainfall within 24 hours. The flood prevention standards stipulated in the Water Resources Agency's treatment plan mandates that all facilities accommodate up to 300 mm of rain per day. However, the rainfall during the August 22 torrential rain was twice that number, which is why many areas became flooded.
(3) Coastal areas such as Dongshi Township, Chiayi; Linbian township, Pingtung; and Yunlin were hit particularly hard because of pre-existing land subsidence. In areas flooded in Beimen District and Xuejia District, those where flood water took longer to subside were places with pre-existing land subsidence. Beimen District is adjacent to Chiayi. When this region becomes flooded, it’s virtually impossible for the flood water to subside. This region is populated with villages, which can be difficult to evacuate. Thus, the only option was to barricade the villages while keeping an emergency path unobstructed. However, not enough funds remained for the Tainan City Government to also fortify the surrounding fields and fish farms.
(4) Tainan is situated on the Chianan Plain. Its flat landscape entails poor drainage. Furthermore, Tainan used to have two inland seas: Taijiang Inland Sea and Daofeng Inland Sea. After the two seas filled in and became land, they became low-lying areas, which is why Tainan is the area most prone to flooding in Taiwan. Over the past few years, Tainan’s water treatment has been effective. In the past, Rende River, Sanye River, and the low-lying areas in Madou would always become flooded during heavy rainfall. But now, significant improvements have been achieved. Statistics show that from 2006 to 2018, the Central Government approved NT $23.98 billion as budget for water treatment. Currently, NT $3.01 billion is used for planning, designs, or construction. In total, NT $20.97 billion has already been invested in water treatment in Tainan. I would like to thank the Central Government for supporting water treatment projects in Tainan. In the future, the Water Resources Bureau will continue to expedite the employment of various water treatment projects.
2. Issuing subsidies as soon as possible to compensate for losses in agriculture, fisheries, and animal husbandry following the August 23 flood
(1) The August 23 flood has resulted in severe damage to agriculture, fisheries, and animal husbandry. To help farmers and fish farmers recover their losses, the Agriculture Bureau, district offices, and farmers groups have collaborated in disaster-relief efforts. To expedite relief procedures, the Agriculture Bureau convened a meeting with the various district offices on August 29 to discuss details about issuing monetary subsidies to farmers affected by the August 23 flood and to deliberate damage inspections and the relief process. The Agriculture Bureau has also sent personnel to district offices in the most affected areas to gain a better understanding of the situation. The Farmers Association and Fishermen’s Association have also announced the deadline for subsidy applications while helping affected farmers and fish farmers apply for subsidies. Our principle is to issue generous subsidies that apply to a wide range of situations in a short amount of time and to ensure that all subsidies are wired to the bank accounts of affected farmers and fish farmers by the end of September.
(2) I would like to ask the staff members of the Agriculture Bureau and the district offices to remind farmers and fish farmers who need to continue their work soon to submit a request for prioritized inspection to the district offices, thereby safeguarding their rights. Farmers and fishermen who are unable to submit applications before the deadline due to unforeseen reasons (such as traffic failures caused by flooding) may submit late applications in accordance with Article 50 of the Administrative Procedure Act, after which the district offices will review each application and announce an extended deadline. I would like to ask the district offices to review applications in accordance with the aforementioned procedures.
3. Combining public and private resources to make overall adjustments to the amount of subsidies for the August 23 flood
(1) The August 23 flood caused serious damage in Southern Taiwan. To expedite reconstruction work, last week, Premier Lai publicly called for charity groups and the private sector to give donations in an effort to help Tainan get back on its feet again. The area north of Zhengwen River suffered significant damage. Many charity groups and individuals have called over the past several days to express their intention to donate. This combined with the donations of many private entities and foundations and the remaining donations from Typhoon Morakot leave Tainan with approximately NT $100 million to restore affected areas.
(2) To help citizens restore their lives to normal as soon as possible, additional subsidies are given based on the level of damage. On top of the subsidies that have already been issued, households with 20 cm to 49 cm of flooding will receive NT $5,000. Households with more than 100 cm will receive an additional NT $10,000 on top of the original subsidy of NT $5,000. Based on these standards, households with flooding over 20 cm but under 50 cm will be given NT $5,000. Those with flooding over 50 cm but under 100 cm are eligible to a total of NT $25,000 in subsidies from the Central Government and the Tainan City Government. Households with flooding over 100 cm will receive a total of $35,000 in subsidies from the Central Government and local government.
(3) When facing natural disasters, the Tainan City Government stands with its citizens. Within the scope of relevant laws and regulations, generous subsidies that apply to a wide range of conditions will be given in a short amount of time. I would also like to thank charity groups for their generous donations. Your generosity has warmed the hearts of affected citizens. I would like to ask the Bureau of Social Affairs and the district offices to complete reviewing all applications as soon as possible and to issue subsidies to affected citizens. If any district offices are low on staff for reviewing and approving applications, please ask district offices in less affected areas for support. I would like to ask the Bureau of Civil Affairs and district executives to see to the reallocation of human resources. In addition, I would like to encourage all heads of departments and staff members of the Tainan City Government to donate a day’s salary, which will encourage more citizens to donate and ultimately help affected citizens restore their lives to normal as soon as possible.