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Kaohsiung rebuilding after downpour

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung City Government finally started reconstruction efforts after the recent gas explosions, having been delayed by the torrential rain of the past two days.

Yesterday morning, the rain finally abated in Kaohsiung and some citizens were happy to see the sun during their “torrential rain break.” Others were less happy: People living near the explosion sites have been waiting on the substantial amount of reconstruction work that has yet to see any significant progress. Amid the noise coming from the heavy construction work, these neighborhoods are still trying to recover from the disaster.

The government is working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC,台積電) to pave roads and reconstruct houses from Kaixuan 3rd Rd to Yixin 1st Rd. Many of the residents there say they want construction work to focus on the most heavily populated areas, despite the noise caused by the equipment. In addition, some stores have reopened using their back doors as their main entrance due to the damage to the road in front of their shops. According to Chan Chien-teng (詹錢登), a professor of the Department of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering at National Cheng Kung University, the average rainfall on Aug. 12-13 was above 80 millimeters per hour. He said that even if the gas explosions had not taken place, the flooding would still have occurred.

If the rain picks back up and forces the government to drain water via pumping machines, the soil that forms the foundation for many buildings may also be washed away. This may lead to structural instability, Chan said. As a result, the professor suggested that the government should move victims to a safer place first and reconstruct after the flooding stops. This, in addition to authorities still investigating the explosions and residents accidentally tampering with relevant evidence.

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Deputy Mayor of Kaohsiung Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀), right, listens to a citizen while he complains about delayed work reconstruction work in the southern city, yesterday. (CNA)



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