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August 21, 2009

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Taiwan approves fund

THE Taiwan government approved a NT$100 billion (US$3 billion) reconstruction fund yesterday after the island's worst typhoon in more than 50 years killed about 500 people and wiped out roads and bridges in the mountainous south.

Typhoon Morakot hit nearly two weeks ago and caused more than US$2 billion in property damage. It triggered landslides and flooding that trapped thousands in remote mountain villages for days.

The three-year reconstruction budget is expected to pass smoothly through the "legislature" since the ruling Kuomintang Party controls more than 70 percent of the seats.

"We will help victims relocate to safe areas," senior government official Lin Join-sane said yesterday.

"It is also important to rebuild public infrastructure, and we will loosen regulations to accelerate the reconstruction of bridges and roads."

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou's administration has come under fire for its slow response to the disaster.

A poll published yesterday by the usually pro-Ma China Times newspaper showed 47 percent of Taiwanese want a major government reshuffle. Four senior officials offered to resign to take the blame.


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