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Mayor Reviews City’s Response to Typhoon Maria

Mayor Reviews City’s Response to Typhoon MariaMayor Ko Wen-je presided over a briefing session on damages caused by Typhoon Maria at the Emergency Operation Center on the morning of July 11. He stressed that the decision to maintain a regular work day for July 11 is based on the suggestion of professional team of meteorologists at National Taiwan University, and the city government should respect professional advice.
After listening to reports by agencies, he instructed the Fire Department to collect all issues discovered by involved agencies throughout the operation. After senior officials have the time to review the list, confirmed problems will require new SOPs to be written to address the issue. The final result will be reviewed by a work meeting headed by Deputy Mayor Teng before arriving at the mayor’s desk.
The mayor noted that he recognized several issues in the current operation. First, he remarked that work and classes should not be cancelled at 4 PM, but instead to cancel work for the night, to prevent large number of workers leaving work at the same time which imposes a heavy burden on city traffic. Another issue is how are overtime pays and transportation stipends handled if the neighboring municipalities reach different conclusions on class and work suspension? He instructed the departments of education, social welfare, and labor to come up with an SOP.
Regarding the removal of downed road trees, Ko noted that he learned something from his trip to the Netherland. Given the fact that typhoons occur every year, there is a need to replace road trees frequently. There should be an initial plan for gradual replacement, which will significantly cut cost in comparison to mass replacement in a short time. Therefore, the city government has to figure out what trees to plant for which sidewalks, and replace downed trees directly if it happens to be one already on the replacement schedule.
As for sandbag giveaways, the mayor believes that returning sandbags every time is too costly. If residents take the sandbags home, they should keep them for use next tap, and only pick up needed amounts when the next typhoon comes. They should definitely not dispose of unwanted ones by dumping the contents into drainages.
He reiterated the importance of listing out the problems after each typhoon, so they can be dealt with, gradually improving the overall response system in the long run.