Cab­i­net pushes for dis­as­ter in­sur­ance be­fore year-end

Cab­i­net trades muddy blows with Ko in con­tam­i­na­tion fault


Com­pen­sa­tion for dis­as­ter-hit farm­ers and clar­i­fy­ing where re­spon­si­bil­ity lies for re­cent wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion were on the agenda af­ter the Cab­i­net’s weekly meet­ing yesterday, as post-typhoon ef­forts con­tin­ued in badly af­fected ar­eas.

Dis­as­ter-re­lated in­sur­ance for agri­cul­tural equip­ment will likely be set up by the end of the year with farm­ers re­ceiv­ing pay­ment by next year, stated Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Chen Bao-ji ( ), an idea fully backed by Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ).

“Agri­cul­tural in­sur­ance for dis­as­ter-hit farm­ers is the main di­rec­tion we are headed to­ward in the fu­ture,” Mao said, and he in- structed the Fi­nan­cial Su­per­vi­sory Com­mis­sion (FSC, ) to as­sist in draw­ing up the in­sur­ance plans.

Agri­cul­tural losses are se­vere in South­ern Tai­wan, Mao said, and asked lo­cal gov­ern­ments to com­pile in­for­ma­tion as the dev­as­tated ar­eas are el­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tion in cash. The COA can set up the is­su­ing of cash sub­si­dies as well. Lo­cal gov­ern­ments and the COA should also work hand-in-hand if ar­eas re­quire loans for in­fra­struc­ture re­con­struc­tion, the premier stated.

The yet to be drawn up in­sur­ance pol­icy will be split into two parts, Chen ex­plained, with one part cov­er­ing agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, while the other cov­ers farm­ing equip­ment. Chen stated that since the scale of the in­sur­ance for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts is not as large, the COA is plan­ning to do a trial run on pears.

In­sur­ance plans for agri­cul­tural equip­ment will fol­low the sys­tem for cov­er­ing fish­ing boats, with the gov­ern­ment cov­er­ing NT$4,000 in in­sur­ance premi­ums. An in­sured in­di­vid­ual could re­ceive up to NT$150,000. Many fish­er­men also upped up their own in­sur­ance premi­ums, Chen said.

A Slap in Ko’s Face?

As­sess­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for Greater Taipei’s wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion con­tin­ues, as Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je’s ( ) ques­tion on un­der­stand­ing the mud­died Nan­shi River was dis­sected by the Cab­i­net.

“Taipei City Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi ( ) stated that it was the city gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to con­tinue dis­tribut­ing the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter dur­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing,” Cab­i­net spokesman Sun Lih-chyun ( ) stated.

Chen said he be­lieved the con- tam­i­nated wa­ter pos­si­bly orig­i­nated from col­lapsed roads be­tween the Nan­shi River and its up­stream creek. “The up­stream creek al­ready saw land­slides for the past 30 years, and it has al­ready ex­posed the bedrock lay­ers, there­fore the wa­ter orig­i­nat­ing from the creek is ac­tu­ally clear.”

The creek saw al­most an­nual land­slides, yet the land­slide area this year was sig­nif­i­cantly smaller, said Forestry Bureau Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Lee Tao-sheng. “This shows that our land re­gen­er­a­tion ef­forts have paid off.”

As to why the wa­ters were muddy, Lee sug­gested it was a “sci­en­tific prob­lem,” since wa­ter­shed ren­o­va­tion works are tied with wa­ter con­ser­vancy and wa­ter re­sources. “We have asked lo­cal sec­tors to con­tinue in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

“Wa­ter pu­ri­fy­ing typhoon pro­cess­ing sec­tors’ postis the key to ad­dress­ing wa­ter qual­ity prob­lems,” Chen said, ex­plain­ing that the Gaop­ing River also saw muddy con­tam­i­na­tion af­ter the typhoon. “Stor­ing wa­ter be­fore the typhoon hits land and tem­po­rary re­stric­tions on wa­ter is­sue could help cit­i­zens avoid in­con­ve­nience.”

Wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion lev­els would drop sig­nif­i­cantly af­ter let­ting the wa­ter set­tle for 12 to 20 hours, Chen stated. “Many ex­pe­ri­enced county and city gov­ern­ments use this method.”

Sun added that the wa­ter com­pany re­minded cit­i­zens to store wa­ter in re­serve, and wa­ter pu­ri­fy­ing sec­tors also main­tain re­serves, there­fore “wa­ter ra­tioning isn’t al­ways nec­es­sary.”

On the other hand, Sun pointed out that con­tam­i­nated creek wa­ter and tap wa­ter are “dif­fer­ent prob­lems” and can­not be dis­cussed as the same thing.

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