Taiwan bans events with flammable coloured powder

Participants at The Color Run in Singapore.
Participants at The Color Run in Singapore.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Taiwan Premier Mao Chi-kuo yesterday announced a islandwide ban on flammable coloured powder events in the aftermath of the tragic water park fire last Saturday at the Color Play Asia event, with other governmental bodies similarly announcing prohibitions.

The government has formed a response team to investigate the dust explosion, with Mr Mao having issued orders to related governmental bodies.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is in charge of tallying the numbers of people affected and injured; the Ministry of Education is to follow up on students' counseling as many of the event attendees were students, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be responsible for foreign nationals injured in the explosion.

Following the announcement, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) issued ban regulations to local governments through a statement yesterday.

Since New Taipei City's notice last night at 8.41pm, the MOI had activated "emergency management measures" to handle the accidental explosion.

Mr Mao also reassured the public that there are sufficient resources for skin transplants.

Nationwide health institutions, associations such as the Taiwan Society of Plastic Surgery and the Taiwan Society for Burn Injuries and Wound Healing, have also donated skin from Southern Taiwan to hospitals in the north, said Mr Mao.

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu and Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je also announced strict bans on colored dust usage at public events in the future.

Mr Chu announced that the government will not only assume full responsibility for the accident, but will also conduct rigorous investigations into the matter.

According to Mr Chu, healthcare institutions have become frontline emergency control centres, deploying maximum manpower to handle the overwhelming number of injured people, and to prepare equipment for burn-related injuries and volunteers to help the injured.

Mr Chu has also banned any similar events in areas under the New Taipei City's jurisdiction. Further discussions with the National Fire Agency of the MOI will be held to lay down the groundwork for stricter regulations and the management of similar events.

Rescue operation systems will face re-evaluation, according to Mr Chu, from ambulances, healthcare and traffic flow to support systems.

For Taipei City, Mr Ko slapped a temporary ban on colored dust-usage at events, with flammable powder completely prohibited in the future.

Mr Ko had been attending a campaigning event for Democratic Progressive Party Tainan City Councilor Wang Ding-yu, where he fielded questions on the powder explosion.

The Taipei City mayor said that all usage of powder at any events will be temporary banned until they can clarify which measures needed revision.

Dust-related events in the future should only use flame-resistant powder, he added.