At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang spoke regarding the magnitude 6.4 and 6.8 earthquakes that struck Hualien and Taitung counties over the weekend, as well as their continuing aftershocks. Such earthquakes are rare, the premier said, but despite the disaster, fortunately there were relatively few casualties.
The premier directed ministries and agencies to do everything in their power to complete follow-up recovery and rebuilding efforts, including the restoration of damaged schools and seismic retrofitting of impacted bridges. Regarding relief operations, the premier also ordered swift, proactive and liberal distribution of aid to disaster victims.
Since the beginning of President Tsai's administration, over 4,200 school buildings have been rebuilt or undergone seismic retrofitting, the premier said. By the end of this year, all public elementary, middle and high schools will meet earthquake-resistant standards. In addition, 257 of Taiwan's more than 300 provincial highway bridges and aging county and city bridges have either been made earthquake-resistant or reconstructed.
Premier Su noted that earthquakes are common in Taiwan and harder to guard against than typhoons. Geologically sensitive areas, as well as vulnerable or high-risk structures and buildings nationwide should all require comprehensive earthquake preparedness. The premier directed the relevant ministries and agencies to remain cautious and vigilant, as well as take inventory and cooperate with their various responsible counterparts in the private sector and local governments as soon as possible.