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Pres. Ma commends debris flow prevention volunteers and sets future goal


  The Council of Agriculture (COA) honored on October 21 a group of volunteers trained by
its Soil and Water Conservation Bureau who helped evacuate 9,100 residents from areas
vulnerable to debris flow disasters when Typhoon Morakot swept southern Taiwan in early
August. In recognition of their selfless dedication. President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Wu
Den-yih attended the "Pay tribute to home guardians -- Awarding contributors to Typhoon
Morakot debris flow disaster prevention and evacuation ceremony" and conferred citations
on several debris flow prevention volunteers and others who contributed to disaster
prevention and evacuation, including Chen Han-yuan and Liu Chin-ying who had dutifully
reported the amount of rainfall until losing contact with the outside world when mudslides
buried Xiaolin Village in Kaohsiung County. Their daughter and sister received the citation
from President Ma on their behalf.

  While praising the volunteers for their "selfless dedication," President Ma said what they
had done was a favor tantamount to giving the rescued a new lease of life. He added that
climate change data in recent years has indicated that there will be more and more serious
natural disasters in the future, and man cannot and should not fight against the Nature. In
the face of natural disasters, what we should do is run away from them, said the President,
adding that the government must combine the forces of "civil affairs agencies, the military,
police, firefighting departments and debris flow disaster prevention volunteers" in full
preparation for disaster prevention and rescue. He noted that "advance deployment, troops on
standby, and disaster prevention and rescue at all times" will be the goal of government
efforts in the future.

  Premier Wu said emotionally that all mudslide disaster prevention specialists are volunteers
without any pay but they have observed, measured and reported the amount of rainfall in remote
areas with incomparable enthusiasm and even helped evacuate residents from areas threatened by
debris flow. Their existence has supplemented to what is beyond scientific and technological
instruments' ability, and the simple rainfall measuring cylinders seemed to have come to live
because they have the effect of saving many human lives in the hands of these volunteers.

  Those receiving citations from President Ma and Premier Wu in the ceremony included township
and village heads who successfully evacuated local residents, police officers who performed
their duties to well protect people, and several disaster prevention volunteers who dutifully
reported rainfall measurements and helped evacuate residents from the threat of mudslides.
Chen Han-yuan and Liu Chin-ying, who had continued reporting rainfall measurements until Xiaolin
Village was buried by mudslides when Typhoon Morakot seriously damaged southern Taiwan, were
also given citations. The audience were deeply touched when their daughter and sister steped
firmly onto the stage to receive the citations from President Ma on their behalf.

  At the end of the ceremony, President Ma gave the flag to all debris flow disaster prevention
volunteers and encouraged them to further improve disaster prevention expertise and capability
as well as learn how to protect themselves so as to become more useful and effective in future
disaster prevention and rescue efforts.