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Local governments owe Defense Ministry huge sums for disaster relief

2012/05/27 21:35:08

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) Local governments owe the Ministry of National Defense "over several hundred million dollars" incurred from disaster rescue and relief missions over the past two years, according to a report published Sunday by the ministry.

According to data relating to the period between August 2009 and December 2011, the ministry has had to spend NT$1.31 billion (US$44.3 million) on post-disaster work for local governments.

The report shows that the ministry spent around NT$794 million during the 2009 Typhoon Morakot operations, which included recovering bodies, removing debris and reopening roads, as well as disinfection and disease prevention.

Other rescue missions, including work to clear a landslide that buried more than 300 meters of the No. 3 Freeway near Keelung and work in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Megi that hit the island in 2010, totaled NT$433 million, according to the report.

The following year, rescue operations when a narrow-gauge train derailed and overturned on Alishan, and following Typhoon Nanmadol, as well as cloud-seeding work in the face of drought conditions, have cost the ministry NT$83.7 million, the report said.

The ministry said it has requested local governments to provide reimbursement of these expenses, but the governments in question have replied that they are facing financial difficulties.

In order to claim the money back, the ministry said it will request the National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission to mediate and coordinate with the relevant local government departments.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Hanna Liu)