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Hualien tour didn't affect flood operation in Taipei: gov't

The China Post news staff--Taipei City Government officials yesterday denied media reports claiming that the June 10-11 fact-finding tours of public works in the eastern county of Hualien affected the anti-flood efforts of Taipei's Department of Public Works.

The reports said the Public Works Department failed to take preventive measures in time against the flooding that hit Wenshan District's Wan Fan Road on June 12 because it was preoccupied with the Hualien tours. The flooding has already caused Lee Hsien-heng to step down from his post as commissioner of the department, in addition to Eric Huang being removed from the post as director of the department's Hydraulic Engineering Office.

In response, officials with the Public Works Department said that all the members of the fact-finding tour group, including Lee, had returned to Taipei at 8:10 p.m. on June 11, at which point there had yet to be any flooding or torrential rainfall, thus making it premature to set up a disaster-prevention center at that time.

Accordingly, the officials noted, the June 10-11 tour of Hualien's public works didn't affect any anti-flood operations, stressing that Lee had kept a watchful eye on the rainfall in Taipei during the entire trip and didn't make any misjudgments in this regard.

The schedule of the tour plan was set four weeks ago, and the tour kicked off on June 10 as scheduled. Members of the Lee-led group visited hydraulic power generation engineering, side-slope protection and ecological engineering, and other relevant conservation works in Hualien.

The officials said it was sunny in the morning of June 11, but it began to drizzle at 9:40 p.m. that day, with the rainfall at 10:10 p.m. reaching 20 mm per hour, only half of the 40-mm level requiring the establishment of a storm-monitoring panel. Accordingly, the June 10-11 fact-finding tour of Hualien by Lee and his group didn't affect anti-flood measures at all, the officials concluded.

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