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China Times: Prepare for abnormal weather

2012/06/20 12:51:25

Tropical Storm Talim is approaching the Taiwan Strait and will bring abundant moisture to Taiwan. Mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan are likely to receive as much as 1,500 millimeters in rainfall, exceeding the level recorded during the previous wave of torrential rains last week.

The most recent storm caused flooding in northern Taiwan despite ample forewarning from meteorologists.

The flooding in Taipei's Wenshan District was attributed to the error of a technician, which led to a pumping station being mistakenly shut down. Another case of flooding near the Nankan interchange of the No. 1 Freeway in Taoyuan County was caused by a road construction project that blocked the drainage of rainwater.

Human error is partially to blame for the failure of rainwater drainage and disaster prevention systems in northern Taiwan, which have cost hundreds of billions of Taiwan dollars to build. In Taipei, for example, the rainwater drainage system is designed to have a discharge capacity of 78 mm per hour, but its draining function is often undermined because blockages caused by trash, fallen leaves or mud are not regularly cleared.

Extreme weather is becoming a norm as a result of climate change, meaning that we have no way of stopping disasters from happening. Finding a way to coexist with disasters, therefore, should be our top priority. (Editorial abstract -- June 20, 2012)

(By Y.F. Low)