Rainfall in Kaohsiung jeopardizes city's reconstruction

Rainfall in Kaohsiung jeopardizes city's reconstruction

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Heavy rainfall in Kaohsiung yesterday once again flooded the recent propene explosion areas and reconstruction sites, providing further challenges to reconstruction efforts in the city.

According to statistics, accumulated rainfall in 12 hours in Kaohsiung's Ziguan District reached close to 200 millimeters, with Qiaotou, Renwu and Dashe areas reporting measurements above 150 millimeters.

The Kaohsiung City Water Resources Bureau stated that as the culverts and drains in the path of accumulating rainwater were destroyed by the explosions, rainwater can no longer be drained effectively. Currently, 17 water pumps have been installed at critical locations to divert water flow to other, more accessible drainage systems.

Due to heavy water flow, civilians have reportedly noticed that water has been flowing back into trenches. The bureau has since responded to the problem, stating that the length of the drainage pipelines has been extended to relieve the situation.

As heavy rainfall has flooded the Kaohsiung gas explosion sites, the originally planned construction of steel pipes intended to accelerate the removal of residual propene underground has been halted. During a trip to the area, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) reportedly requested that the city's Water Resources Bureau seek an appropriate resolution to the situation.

Abuses of Support Reported

Local reports recently revealed that some people have wrongfully claimed to be victims of the disaster to receive some of the relief resources.

Resources from throughout Taiwan have poured into Kaohsiung to prevent victims of the disaster from experiencing more undue hardship. However, people from elsewhere have reportedly been spotted carrying large shopping bags at resource stations to stock up on relief goods for free.

These people have also allegedly boasted to their neighbours about the ease of acquiring these resources, creating problems for volunteer workers responsible for resource distribution.

As the problem has already depleted the resources available for real victims, volunteers are reportedly requiring anyone who approaches the resource centers to present identification to prove they reside in the affected area. However, new reports have stated that non-victims have continued to visit charity resource distribution centers to get free items.

According to local news outlets, a hotel owner had advertised free lodging for victims of the blast. Reportedly, the owner stated that two young men with proper identification strolled into his establishment only to criticise the size and available utilities in the hotel.

Currently, government support funds are capped at NT$6,000 per victim, with NT$20,000 to be distributed in the future. Officials from the city's Social Affairs Bureau have also reported cases of victims overstating their household occupancy in hopes of receiving larger sums of government support funds. To contain the situation, officials have stated that affidavits are required for any household applying for funds exceeding the population stated in their household registration.

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