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July 24, 2017

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Stricken residents of Kaohsiung appeal to Premier Jiang for help

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- "Stop doing a political show! Don't just come and go!" shouted a Kaohsiung explosions victim yesterday at Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) when the latter was about to get in a car and leave one of the explosion sites in the southern city.

Days of heavy rainfall halted the reconstruction work and caused floods in the port city. The roads damaged by the July 31 explosions have become a trench filled with rainwater. The Kaohsiung City Government stationed 17 water pumps in an attempt to drain the floodwater.

The premier yesterday morning went to Kaohsiung and visited the intersection between Ersheng Rd. (二聖路) and Kaixuan Rd. (凱旋路) — one of the explosion sites — to inspect the reconstruction progress in the company of Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊).

After listening to Kaohsiung's briefing, Jiang was about to leave the scene and head to the next public event — a religious service held to comfort the souls of those who died in the explosions and help the survivors to move on in the aftermath.

The victim, surnamed Tsai, whose basement was flooded, shouted at the premier and asked him to stay longer. Other victims who surrounded Tsai echoed him, saying, "Premier Jiang please don't go. Save us."

In response, Jiang halted and turned to the victims. Tsai told Jiang that the explosions and the rainfall have rocked the foundation of his house, noting that if the government cannot help him in time, he is worried that not only his house but the houses on the entire street will be weakened by the downpours, collapse and fall into the trench.

Tsai further said that he has called the Kaohsiung City Government several times, but the officials just came and took a look at his house without offering any practical assistance.

Jiang responded to Tsai by saying that he will communicate with the Kaohsiung City Government in regard to Tsai's complaint, and he will request that Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan (李四川) dispatch personnel to stabilize the foundations of houses as soon as possible.

While listening to other victims, Jiang reached out his hands four times attempting to hold one of the victims' hands to show his support, however, the premier was rejected by the victim. Jiang later held one of the victims' hands and promised that the central government will fully assist the reconstruction efforts in the city.

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