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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

President wants rigorous implementation of disaster prevention act

ROC Central News Agency

2009/09/04 22:16:35

By Lilian Wu

Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Friday called for the rigorous implementation of a disaster prevention law without waiting for the president to issue an emergency decree when a natural disaster occurred.

The president made the comment during a visit to Gukeng township, Yunlin County, where he was briefed on the mudslide pre-warning mechanism in the township's Huashan village and lauded its achievements in mudslide prevention.

Huashan suffered major damage during the Sept. 21, 1999 earthquake when the mountains around it collapsed, and during Typhoon Nari in 2001 when massive mudslides flowed into Huashan River.

The Council of Agriculture then dredged the river and built the Huashan mudslide education park, complete with a slit dam, that has become a model for mudslide prevention.

The president, who was panned for not issuing an emergency decree last month as Typhoon Morakot battered southern Taiwan, said the disaster rescue and relief mechanism would be triggered by the nation's Disaster Prevention and Protection Act.

He said disaster prevention is more important than post-disaster rescue operations and that good disaster prevention will help cut losses.

The Executive Yuan has asked all military forces stationed around the island to answer the calls of local governments to deal with emergencies or disaster control, Ma said.

Under the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act, a disaster prevention committee under the Executive Yuan presides over the rescue and relief operation and can mobilize military forces without waiting for an instruction from the president.

Ma stressed that the act stipulates that local governments could dispatch military forces to deal with big or small emergencies based on certain duties.

He also instructed the military to communicate effectively with local governments and to station troops in mudslide alert regions before potential emergencies occur.

When the Central Weather Bureau issues a typhoon or mudslide warning, the military will take the initiative to work with local governments to mitigate possible losses.

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