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September 24, 2017

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DPP calls for post-quake changes to law on disaster prevention, relief

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus called for amendments to the Disaster Prevention and Relief Act (災害防救法) on Monday at the Legislative Yuan and immediate remedial programs to assist victims for a more flexible post-disaster recovery.

Citing soil liquefaction as a major consideration to be addressed after the Feb. 6 Kaohsiung Meinong earthquake, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) suggested that soil liquefaction should be included into the Disaster Prevention and Relief Act for victims to apply for grants.

Currently, only victims of circumstances such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, cold spells and mudslides are eligible for grants.

Chen also said that in the latest figures released by Tainan City Government, over 600 Tainan households are currently situated in soft-soil areas.

"The refugees are sleeping in the mud," Chen said. "The Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI, 內政部) should provide necessary assistance" as soon as possible.

A new law to cover post-disaster recovery work and financial aid should be also considered, the legislator stated.

Chen also criticized the government for following past post-disaster rent assistance policy, which he claims fails to take into account how housing prices could have increased since the law came into force.

A post-Typhoon Morakot law states victims are eligible to receive a monthly NT$6,000 payment for three people and under households; NT$8,000 for four-person households and NT$10,000 for five-person households.

For families with grandparents living under the same roof, seven-person households can only receive NT$10,000. Victims of the Kaohsiung Meinong earthquake who shared a home with three generations of their family have stated that is difficult to rent a house on that amount.

However, CPA Chief Engineer Wu Hung-shuo (吳宏碩) said that legal revisions to the Act will be for the Executive Yuan to discuss.

According to local media, the issue is slated to be cleared up by Feb. 18 this week.

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