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City Holds Impromptu Flashflood Drill to Test Agency Preparedness

Mayor inspects pumping station With the arrival of the monsoon season, heavy rain and flashflood could take place with little warning. To test the preparedness of city agencies to deal with such threats, Mayor Ko Wen-je ordered an impromptu flashflood drill in the evening of May 27.

In compliance with the order, the Level 1 Disaster Response Team at the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), as well as district-level response centers, were established with key staff members at their positions by 8 PM. The mayor conducted live video conferences with all affiliated response centers and randomly selected destinations for spot checks, including the Jiangguo Pumping Station and MRT Xingtian Temple Station.

The mayor pointed out that due to factors such as global warming and Urban heat island effect, it is extremely difficult to predict sudden heavy rainfalls and cloudbursts. The risk is further increased with the arrival of monsoon season.

While large-scale exercises have been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the city government has continued to hold impromptu drills to ensure city agencies can carry out emergency mobilization on short notice.

Ko stressed that cloudbursts can be more dangerous than typhoons, as advanced warning and reaction time become severely limited. This is evident in the recent downpours which led to flashfloods in parts of central and southern Taiwan. For Taipei City, the heavy rainfall on July 22 last year flooded the neighborhood around Taipei Arena. While improvements have been implemented for stormwater drains in the area, its effectiveness still remains to be tested by actual heavy downpours.

The Fire Department pointed out that Taipei experiences an average of one or two cloudbursts during the flood season between May and November. To obtain more precise data on the weather, the city has collaborated with meteorology teams from National Taiwan University. Staff members from the school are stationed at the EOC around-the-clock to provide analysis on typhoon, monsoon, weather systems and related data. The analysis is forwarded to city agencies via email, LINE, and phone for reference.