The Ministry of Economic Affairs is accepting applications for subsidies in an effort to entice more developments to undergo earthquake resistance assessments, Apple Daily reported. Applications for the subsidies will close on February 27 for buildings completed before December 31, 1999.
There will be three phases to the earthquake resistance assessment for public buildings in Taiwan. There will be a preliminary assessment, for which the government may provide a subsidy of up to NT$8000. That will be followed by a detailed assessment, for the which the government may provide a subsidy of up to NT$600,000. The third phase will involve reinforcement or demolition of buildings. The Ministry of Economic Affairs will determine subsidies for the third phase on a case-by-case basis.
As of January 10, 115 applications for preliminary assessment subsidies have been submitted, according to acting director of the central office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs Hsu Cheng-tsung (許正宗). Hsu said that the ministry approved 108 of the applications.
The ministry said if a local government has completed its own earthquake assessment and has identified any need for improvement, it may submit an application for construction subsidies.
The ministry plans to hold three briefing sessions on January 26, February 2 and February 9 for professionals such as seismic technicians and architects.
According to the UK’s Coventry University, Taiwanese are less fearful of earthquakes than their counterparts in the US and Japan. The report noted that Taiwanese are less likely to seek cover during a tremor, which could increase casualties in the event of a larger magnitude quake.
In November, the Central Weather Bureau completed the expansion of its submarine seismic monitoring system, which will allow the agency to better locate the epicenter of earthquakes.
Taiwan’s FormoSat-5 satellite may also aid in predicting earthquakes, as it had detected changes in the ionosphere prior to a major earthquake in the Middle East.