Friday, August 12, 2011

Taiwan endeavoring to reduce disaster risks

Focus Taiwan via CNA: Taiwan has been working hard on disaster risk reduction, particularly in reducing typhoon and flood risks, Water Resources Agency Director-General Yang Wei-fu said Thursday. "Located in one of the world's most typhoon-prone areas, Taiwan often sustains serious damage from typhoon-induced flooding and we have spared no efforts to curtail disaster risks," Yang said in response to an international disaster exposure survey that ranked Taiwan among the countries most highly exposed to natural disasters.

British risk management consultancy Maplecroft has ranked 196 countries according to their exposure to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, floods, storms and wildfires. According to the Maplecroft study, four nations -- the United States, Japan, China and Taiwan in descending order -- are deemed at "extreme risk" in absolute terms, which means the overall cost in U.S. dollar terms, of a natural disaster.

Yang said three to four typhoons hit Taiwan annually on average, which usually cause heavy property damage and human casualties. As disaster risk reduction tends to be cheaper than emergency response or post-disaster relief, Yang went on, the government has improved urban planning projects by requiring more land to be left available to accommodate parks, floodwater storage ponds and stormwater holding basins.

In the face of the threat of sea level rises, Yang said the government has stepped up coastal conservation efforts and has refrained from launching public infrastructure construction projects in climate-sensitive or disaster-prone areas....

Shown here on August 16, 2007, Super Typhoon Sepat came ashore in Taiwan on August 17 after bringing torrential rain and flooding to the Philippines the day before. NASA photo

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