After surveying the damage wreaked by Typhoon Nepartak in Taitung and Pingtung counties, Premier Lin Chuan today gave the following orders at a Central Emergency Operation Center meeting in Taipei City:
1. Minister without Portfolio Wu Hong-mo (concurrently minister of the Public Construction Commission) is to be stationed in Taitung County beginning Sunday to help with local relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
2. Typhoon Nepartak’s level-17 winds on the Beaufort scale were the strongest in a century, bringing widespread damage to homes in Taitung. According to current regulations, the government provides victims needing relocation with assistance of up to NT$20,000 (US$617) per person, for a maximum five people per household (or NT$100,000 or US$3,086). This time, however, many residents experienced damage to home rooftops, windows or doors that do not necessarily make the home uninhabitable but also do not qualify them for assistance.
To compensate for this type of property loss, the government will implement a special relief project where affected residents approved by the local government will receive NT$20,000 per household. The standards for damage assessment will be determined after discussions between the central government and the Taitung County Government on Monday. In the meantime, affected residents are advised to keep photographs or receipts as proof of damage.
3. Cash relief for agricultural losses must be distributed speedily with streamlined procedures and lenient standards. Local governments must transfer the subsidies quickly to the accounts of affected farmers.
4. Relief for damaged farming facilities will also be conducted in accordance with the Implementation Rules of Agricultural Natural Disaster Relief. In the future, the Council of Agriculture (COA) should encourage farmers to set up sturdier farming facilities that can withstand extreme weather events.
5. To help farmers suffering long-term income loss due to the typhoon (for instance, it takes three years to grow and harvest sugar apples), the COA will map out income insurance measures that protect farmers from losses of perennial crops.
6. Central government agencies should complete inspection and reviews within one month of receiving local government reports on damage and reconstruction plans for public facilities (including schools).
7. On Monday, the Executive Yuan will provide the Taitung County Government with NT$500 million (US$15.43 million) for disaster relief and reconstruction work. Another NT$300 million (US$9.26 million) will be allotted for agricultural losses.
8. To facilitate relief operations in Taitung, Taiwan Railways Administration will offer free Taroko Express and Puyuma Express services July 10 and 11 for professional and medical workers as well as anyone wishing to lend a helping hand. The trains will depart mid-day from Banqiao in northern Taiwan and stop at Taipei, Songshan, Hualien and Taitung stations. Details are available at the service centers of the five train stations.