Engineering director demoted over floods

The China Post news staff

Deputy Taipei City Mayor Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) yesterday transferred Hydraulic Engineering Office Director Eric Huang (黃治峰) to an unspecified non-managerial post after blaming human error for flooding that hit Wenshan District’s Wan Fan Road. Local reports claimed that closed floodgates near a pump station on Wan Fang Road put excess stress on pipes, causing them to rupture, which in turn triggered flooding in the area. The deputy mayor confirmed that the rupture of pipes was caused by “improper operation” of the pump station’s floodgates. The pump station is designed to discharge water into rivers, with floodgates there to prevent the river flowing back into the pump station.

“The mechanic closed two floodgates at the same time during the flooding, which is a serious mistake,” Chen said. Government officials will ascertain the extent of damage to the pipes after the water recedes, he said. Taipei City Government spokesman Edward Zhang (張其強) stated that because of the severity of the incident and the clear evidence, Huang has been demoted and the mechanic on duty, surnamed Chang, has been discharged. Taipei Public Works Department Commissioner Lee Hsien-Heng (李咸亨) said that Chang has served as a mechanic for the Taipei City Government for 21 years and Wan Fang pump station is of a different design than other stations Chang had previously worked at. Lee said Chang had admitted his mistake. Taipei Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹) said that the city government will provide assistance payments of NT$6,000 to house owners with flooding below 50 centimeters in their homes, NT$10,000 for homes with flooding between 50 and 100 centimeters, and NT$20,000 for homes where the water level reached 1 meter or above.