TAIWAN - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang blamed President Ma yesterday for not taking immediate actions in Typhoon Tembin's crisis zones in Southern Taiwan and the outer islands. Ma's decision to fly out to Lanyu Island yesterday aroused public criticism that his actions were too little, too late as the typhoon had already wreaked havoc on Monday.
Su dismissed Ma's actions as "always slower than the norm." He said that "Right now, the crucial thing is to help with recovery efforts, not surveying disasters around the island."
Lawmakers Aid in Relief Efforts
In the aftermath of Tembin, government officials plunged into recovery efforts in areas affected by the storm. Former Chair of the DPP Tsai Ing-wen paid Taitung City's hard-hit Lanyu Township Service Center and Hengchun Township. Although Tsai was more than willing to help, representative of the Tsai's foundation Hung Yao-fu stated that Tsai's resources were limited and hinted the government should step up.
Lawmaker Pan Meng-An directed questions at the Executive Yuan for not providing immediate relief sources to the victims of Hengchun households. He expressed that 30,000 households suffered electricity failure and 5,000 experienced water supply cuts, yet only the Pingtung County Government provided financial subsidies. "We saw no aid assistance from the Executive Yuan," he said.
Executive Yuan Defends Its Actions
Amid the array of accusations, spokesman Hu Yu-wei of the Executive Yuan defended the Premier Sean Chen's actions and explained his principles concerning when natural disasters occur. He stated, "The premier has been keenly aware of the development of the typhoon since a tropical depression began to form. After the typhoon hit, it was decided that the premier's appearance would hinder the process of the relief operations."
"Premier Sean Chen's priority was not to appear in front of the media to prove he was there. His priority was to make sure disaster responses were executed smoothly and thoroughly," Hu added.
Efforts to Rebuild Lanyu and Green Islands
Hu further stated that not arriving at the crisis zones did not mean the premier was unoccupied. The premier took numerous meetings with different administrations, including the Council of Agriculture, the Central Emergency Operations Center, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Transportation, Hu explained.
According to Hu, the premier has commissioned each administration to offer specialised expertise for the rebuilding of disaster areas on Lanyu Island and Green Island. Chen urged each branch to connect with local private sector organisations, such as the Red Cross, so they would efficiently handle the needs of loc als.
He has also directed the Council of Agriculture to help get Lanyu's fishery industry back on track, and the Ministry of Transportation to rebuild the transportation system, as well as providing oil supplies after the typhoon flattened the only gas station on the island.