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Families of victims denied compensation after Typhoon Sinlaku

In the aftermath of Typhoon Sinlaku that struck Taiwan in 2008, families of the seven persons buried alive applied for state compensation at the Directorate General of Highways of the Ministry of Transportation. Following a review meeting held by the Directorate General, it was decided that the case did not qualify for state compensation, because the destruction of the infrastructure was caused by natural forces. As such, the Directorate General issued a refusal to the applicants in December of the same year. The Control Yuan launched an investigation and found mismanagement by government agencies. (Case no. 0970800449)
The area where the landslide occurred was a land reserved for the indigenous peoples. However, the ownership of the land had illegally fallen into the hands of a man of Taiwanese decent and has been used as an orchard to grow fruits for many years. As the local authority responsible for enforcing the Regulations on Development and Management of the Lands Reserved for Indigenous People, the Sinyi Township Office failed to identify the illegal land use and issue penalties accordingly. Also at fault were the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Nantou County Government, and the Council of Agriculture. The Council of Indigenous Peoples had failed to ensure proper registration of land or review existing policies and regulations governing the use of lands reserved for the indigenous people. As the supervisory body over Sinyi Township Office, the Nantou County Government neglected its duties of oversight and failed to take the initiatives to prevent disasters, impose limits on land use, or prohibit any forms of development in the area. As a superior office, the Council of Agriculture failed to supervise responsible agencies at all levels to ensure proper preservation and use of mountainous lands and map out the plans and timetable for improvement. As for state compensation, the families may seek judicial review for remedy.
At the request of the CY, the city and county branches of the Directorate General have conducted periodic maintenance inspections and taken a proactive stance in informing responsible agencies of potentially dangerous areas. The Nantou County Government has requested agencies at the village and township levels to identify areas in need of conservation and submit applications on an annual basis. The Nantou County Government issued a letter requesting the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau to provide funding dedicated to the designation of territory security lands.