Premier visits Hualien quake site, pledges central government support

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

Premier Lai Ching-te today visited Hualien to see the aftermath of this week’s massive earthquake, pledging the Executive Yuan’s commitment and support for the county’s rescue, relief and reconstruction efforts.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s first directive during her visit to Hualien was to the Executive Yuan and Hualien County, that the two levels of government work together in helping people affected by the quake and restore Hualien to normalcy as swiftly as possible, the premier said.

Rescuing people may be likened to fighting a fire: every second counts in the race to save lives, the premier said. First, emergency workers must identify all victims who may still be trapped in tilting or collapsed buildings. Second, every protective measure must be taken to secure those structures. Premier Lai asked architects and engineers to ensure the buildings’ structural safety and allow rescuers to buy more time and do their work efficiently.

This is indeed Hualien’s most difficult time, Premier Lai said. The Executive Yuan will disburse an initial relief amount of NT$300 million (US$10.2 million) to the Hualien County Government to go immediately toward helping those displaced or affected by the disaster. In accordance with law, condolence payments of NT$800,000 (US$27,331) will be made for each victim killed and NT$250,000 (US$8,541) to each person injured. The premier also called on the rest of the nation to donate generously and help Hualien County provide the best care to those in need.

The government will work pragmatically to minimize the damage and suffering caused by the temblor, the premier pledged. As Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi and his team work around the clock, police, firefighters and humanitarian organizations from around the country are also on scene to offer assistance. When confronted by earthquakes or other calamities, the people of Taiwan can be counted on to come together and apply their skills and resources to solving problems and overcoming obstacles, he said.