Southern local leaders ask the government to provide more flood management funding

During last week’s tropical storm, the most heavily affected areas were in southern Taiwan. Hamstrung by a rapidly depleting flood management budget, today the leaders of five southern cities and counties gathered to urge the central government to furnish more funds. 

It was a rare site to see the leaders of Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung together. They urged the government to continue providing flood management funding to the tune of NT$60 billion over six years. 

Chen Chu
Kaohsiung Mayor
Our desire is for a seamless budget. Some flood control projects are 70 percent finished; some are completed to a certain stage. The next step we take is extremely important to us.

After the meeting, reporters mentioned Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan’s comment that NT$60 billion would not be enough if excessive pumping of groundwater continued. Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen took offense.

Su Chih-fen
Yunlin County Commissioner
I want to ask the Ministry of the Interior who is in charge of the Regional Plan Act? Who decides the deep wells and the shallow wells that can be used under the act? I hope that regulations can first clearly state jurisprudence over these matters. 

Also under fire is Tainan Mayor William Lai. Tainan received nearly NT$17 billion in funding over the past several years, but it still flooded. Lai defended his administration.

William Lai
Tainan Mayor
Tainan is home to a third of the nation’s flood warning areas. This is proportional to the amount of funding that Tainan received. It’s how it should be. We welcome anyone – President Ma, Premier Jiang, the heads of central government agencies – to visit Tainan and witness our achievements in the area of flood management.

The message these five local leaders wanted to send out was clear: they want more funding and less talk from the central government.