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Building check, urban renewal to be new government's priority: Tsai

2016/02/08 15:30:24

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (center).

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said during a visit to earthquake-struck Tainan on Monday that her administration will make safety checks of old buildings and urban renewal a top priority.

Her team has realized it has come time to examine old buildings erected during Taiwan's period of industrialization that may need to be reinforced against earthquakes and other potential disasters, Tsai said while visiting quake victims at Tainan's Chi Mei Hospital.

Tsai, who will be sworn in May 20, was responding to a question on whether bills related to urban renewal and building safety checks would become a top issue for her administration or for the Legislature, in which her Democratic Progressive Party now holds a majority.

She said Taiwan has become a more developed society that needs urban renewal projects on a larger scale to meet the demand for improved public infrastructure and a better quality of life.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, the death toll from Saturday's 6.4-magnitude earthquake centered in Kaohsiung stood at 38, all in neighboring Tainan.

Nine buildings in Tainan collapsed and several others were damaged, but the vast majority of the victims were residents of a 16-story apartment building called Weiguan Jinlong.

Of the 38 dead, 36 lost their lives in the collapsed building, and rescuers are still searching for more than 100 people still believed to be trapped in the building's rubble.

(By Chiang Chun-liang and Kay Liu; click here for the full coverage of the earthquke aftermath.)

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen visits quake-struck Tainan