Premier calls for response task force to aid in Hualien recovery

  • Date: 2018-02-07
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

During a second visit today to the Central Emergency Operation Center, Premier Lai Ching-te said that the Executive Yuan will establish a response task force to take charge of disaster relief and reconstruction following a strong earthquake that struck Hualien County in eastern Taiwan on Tuesday night.

Disaster relief should be undertaken with a focus tailored to each stage of the work, said Premier Lai. The first step is to respond to the disaster itself and assist with medical care and shelter for people affected, as well as locate victims still awaiting rescue. Second-stage efforts must stop the situation from worsening by focusing on vital systems such as power transmission and gas and water pipelines. Roads and bridges should also be inspected for safety to prevent follow-on damage. The premier expressed thanks to responding units for carrying out relief work according to plan, and affirmed their efforts.

For those affected who require rental housing or assistance with relocation, the premier indicated that the government will provide necessary subsidies in accordance with the law. The response task force will be responsible for organizing assistance and responses from various ministries and agencies for the reconstruction of collapsed buildings and damaged houses and roadways.

The response to this earthquake—from rescue and relief work through to reconstruction—will extend for some time. Premier Lai instructed all ministries and agencies under the Executive Yuan to spare no effort in helping Hualien recover from the disaster.

Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong, who is in charge of directing work at the Central Emergency Operation Center, ordered the National Fire Agency to continue assisting the Hualien County Government with rescue work. The Ministry of Health and Welfare was directed to join with the county government to deliver comfort, aid, shelter and medical services to those affected. For any further assistance required by local officials, responsible central agencies will take the initiative to find appropriate solutions and provide full support.

Agencies such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Transportation and Communications—together with the local government—should move quickly to assess damage and undertake emergency repairs to key infrastructure under their purview, including roadways, bridges and water, electrical and communications facilities in order to rapidly restore services. Minister Yeh also instructed the Construction and Planning Agency to proactively assist local authorities in conducting safety appraisals on damaged structures, so that local residents can quickly resume normal routines.