Extreme weather disasters push pundits and officials to reconsider disaster mitigation planning.
Presenter: Central and southern Taiwan got hit with extremely heavy rain in August. Experts say that local geography needs to be considered in flood control and suggest building more retention basins.
Central and southern Taiwan experienced extreme torrential rain earlier in August, causing flash floods and triggering landslides, and destroying bridges. Crops were greatly damaged as well. The National Policy Foundation held a talk recently to discuss the challenges Taiwan faces amid global climate change. How to reduce damages caused by sudden heavy downpours come as an important issue for policymakers and scientists around the globe. Geologists say that common natural disasters such as typhoons, rain, landslides, mudflows, and earthquakes all cause significant damages to the land. Flood prevention and mitigation measures need to consider local geography.
Wei Kuo-yen, Retired Professor, Dept. of Geosciences, National Taiwan University:”The problem with rebuilding the Mingbakelu Bridge that got swept away by the Laonong River is, you don't just build it higher. The mudflow came up 30 meters high this time, so how can you build the bridge any higher? This is the situation we're faced with and we need to think of some other solution.”
Some experts say that highly urbanized cities cannot rely solely on drainage systems, retention basins should be built to help overcome flooding problems.
Lee Hong-yuan, Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University:”People think the government just expropriates land, digs a hole in it and turns it into a retention basin. But retention basin is a part of urban planning and it can be nicely designed. In both Taipei and New Taipei, the cost of buying the land takes up 80 percent of the money needed to build a retention basin, so the actual construction is not that expensive.”
Experts pointed out that municipalities need to cooperate when it comes to watershed management since rivers and streams run across cities and counties. Watershed management is ineffective if money gets wasted doing just parts of the work.