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Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu denies dereliction of duty

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday that she is willing to provide evidence of her whereabouts when the Kaohsiung gas explosions occurred, defying the Kuomintang (KMT) claim that she neglected her duties on the night of the accident.

 KMT lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and several others have raised questions as to Chen's whereabouts when the explosions occurred. They said that Chen should be held responsible for the 30 deaths resulting from the tragedy and requested Chen's resignation.

 The KMT Legislative caucus on Friday called on Chen to step down and take responsibility for the loss of 30 lives in the deadly gas explosions.

 KMT legislator and party whip Alex Fai at a press conference Friday made charges that the mayor had been lying until Thursday morning about the existence of the underground pipeline suspected of being the source of a propene leak that caused the blasts on July 31.

 In response, Chen only said that she thanks KMT legislators for their concern. KMT lawmakers are unable to provide evidence of her absence from the government that night, Chen said, adding that the accusation is clearly an act of defamation. She said she is willing to provide witnesses or video images showing her whereabouts on the night of the incident.

 The priority right now, however, is rescue work, Chen said. She is scheduled to lead a team of Kaohsiung officials to visit Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) next week.

 The central government has agreed to provide assistance to Kaohsiung's rescue and reconstruction efforts. The Kaohsiung government will allocate NT$300 million and the central government will foot the remainder of the bill, according to local news sources.

 There is also confusion regarding who had authority over some petrochemical pipelines buried underground, and this is an issue that Kaohsiung wants to deliberate with the central government, Chen said.

1 Comment
August 10, 2014    chenjohn2@
What a disgraceful lot, our politicians, endlessly trying to score cheap points at a time when so many innocent people have suffered such big losses. Can't they for once do the responsible thing, and quickly come up with practical solutions for the victims? The victims are left in limbo, without answers to their urgent questions, funds to tide things over, compensations for family members killed and properties destroyed? They want clear and definite answers, now!

And the politicians should also address solutions for the longer term. We know that old cities have the same problems, tons of cables and pipes buried hazardly under the streets. Thus we see in New York inspectors probing above ground for leakages of dangerous gases with some detection gadgets. Can't we do the same?
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 Care for Morakot survivors will go on despite end of disaster council 
A road ripped open during the Kaohsiung gas blasts is inundated with floodwater in the southern city, yesterday. (CNA)

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