Premier calls for improved disaster management capabilities

  • Date: 2017-09-21
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te today said that the government should use newly developed disaster prevention technology as well as the media and other communication tools to improve overall disaster response capabilities.

Following the Office of Disaster Management’s report on innovation and policy advances in disaster prevention and control at this morning’s Cabinet meeting, the premier also said the government will run drills on every aspect of disaster prevention and management, as well as regular review and overhaul of the system as a whole.

Taiwan established its first public warning system covering the entire country in 2017. The system facilitates the broadcast of emergency information via cellphone text messaging and designated television channels. Premier Lai applauded this development to enhance warning and response, as well as ongoing testing to familiarize the public with the alerts.

September 21 is National Disaster Prevention Day, in memory of the massive earthquake that devastated central Taiwan on that date in 1999. The premier expressed the highest respect on behalf of his administration for the nation’s disaster relief teams, which operate on the central and local government levels, as well as in the private sector.

Taiwan must confront several natural disasters per year in the form of typhoons. When these disasters unfold, both public and private first responders spring into action without regard for themselves, noted the premier.

This was especially true following last year’s earthquake in Tainan on February 6, when disaster relief personnel from all over Taiwan made their own way to the affected area. Taiwan is blessed with many resolute disaster response teams, thanks to years of government testing and drills, and without their help it would have been impossible for Tainan City to respond to the earthquake successfully. Premier Lai lauded these teams as an extremely valuable disaster management resource for Taiwan.

The premier emphasized that as a result of Taiwan’s position on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a major quake would exact a huge social cost as a result of extensive damage to life and property.

The risk posed by faults in the Greater Taipei region, for example, deserves serious consideration. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has run simulations of large earthquakes, and these results can help the government understand the shock that such a strong quake could potentially deliver. Premier Lai asked for MOST and the Ministry of the Interior to accelerate the application of this data to damage forecasting and the planning of response measures, in order to limit as much as possible losses that a major earthquake would cause.