Taiwan is situated at the intersection of tectonic plates marked by complex geology and frequent seismic activity. Over the last century, the island has experienced more than 10 catastrophic earthquakes where many of the deaths and injuries were attributed to building collapse. To minimize this hazard, the Executive Yuan authorized a nationwide seismic assessment and retrofit program (2019-2021) worth NT$5.4 billion (US$171.7 million) to rapidly screen aging and unsafe structures, conduct seismic resistance assessments, and perform reconstruction and retrofitting work. The program is also forming guidance teams for reconstruction projects and offering financial assistance and other complementary measures, all of which will provide the people of Taiwan with a greater sense of security and peace of mind.
Three primary strategies
■ Rapid screening to identify high-risk buildings: The central government will provide funding to local jurisdictions to perform rapid screening of steel-reinforced concrete structures higher than a certain number of stories and whose construction licenses were issued prior to the end of 1999.
■ Compulsory seismic assessments: All buildings identified as high-risk through rapid screening, as well as privately owned public-use buildings whose construction licenses were issued before December 31, 1999, will be required to undergo seismic hazard assessments.
■ Seismic reinforcement and rebuilding: For all structures deemed at risk of seismic damage, the government will provide comprehensive retrofit guidance, promote urban renewal, or speed up reconstruction (with priority given to old and unsafe buildings). During the planning phase for comprehensive retrofit or reconstruction work, the government will also offer subsidies for partial reinforcements first.