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.