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July 28, 2017

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How avoidable are the costs wrought by natural disasters?

The torrential rains that wreaked havoc around the island this week have again reminded us that something needs to be done to shelter the nation from extreme weather.

It may be difficult to avoid floods and landslides, but experts have pointed out that the nation should rethink how people live in such disaster-prone areas.

Many locations have repeatedly made headlines for their dangers during torrential rains and typhoons, such as Lushan, a famous hot spring area in Nantou County.

It make sense to consider that these places should be abandoned and their residents relocated permanently to safer areas.

Many experts argue that billions have been spent on evacuating people from these areas during emergencies and on rebuilding collapsed roads and bridges afterward.

According to these experts, money has never solved the problems, which are actually unsolvable simply because of their geographical and geological weaknesses.

The same amount of money, or probably a fraction of it, is surely enough to relocate these residents.

One of these experts, Lee Hung-yuan, has now become the interior minister, and in the wake of this week's mishaps, he has again reiterated the government's attempt to introduce a new law that can force the permanent relocation of residents from these dangerous areas.

Of course such a law is not only about forcing relocations. It also involves comprehensive planning or replanning of the use of the nation's land.

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