Taipei, May 2 (CNA) A Japanese engineering expert on Wednesday praised Taiwan's reconstruction efforts in the southern county of Pingtung following Typhoon Morakot, which battered southern Taiwan in 2009 and led to the heaviest flooding in 50 years.
Hajime Okamura, former president of Kochi University of Technology and the recipient of an award bestowed by Japan's emperor for his contributions to technology, visited an elementary school and new permanent housing units in several tribal villages damaged during the typhoon.
Okamura praised the efficiency with which the Taiwanese government relocated people from disaster areas and promoted the revival of local industry and culture after the typhoon struck.
On a trip to Tai-wu Elementary School, which is dedicated to the preservation of the aboriginal Paiwan culture, Okamura said the school successfully infused tribal elements and energy-saving concepts into its campus design.
Strolling through the community, Okamura said he was impressed with the ancient artifacts salvaged from the storm, as well as household murals depicting the heroic feats of tribal ancestors and the homesickness experienced by villagers during the relocation period.
Okamura is visiting Taiwan for an international symposium on disaster prevention and post-disaster reconstruction in Kaohsiung. The event was organized by a government reconstruction committee set up after the typhoon and the Society of Social Management Systems, which Okamura initiated to develop management methods to meet the challenges of modern societies.
Thanks to dedicated efforts from all sides, 95 percent of the reconstruction work was completed three years after the typhoon struck, committee executive Chen Chen-chuan said.
(By Kuo Chu-chen and Scully Hsiao)