Taipei: Taiwan`s President Ma Ying-jeou, under pressure for his handling of last month`s deadly typhoon, led a ceremony today for the more than 600 killed in the disaster, calling it a "permanent trauma".
Ma was speaking to an audience of hundreds inside a stadium in Kaohsiung, a southern city close to communities that were severely hit when Typhoon Morakot lashed the island, inundating large areas of land and triggering massive mudslides.
"The flood was of the kind that strikes only once in a century, washing away our beautiful homes and wiping out the lives of hundreds of our countrymen," a grim-faced Ma said in a brief speech.
"This has caused a permanent trauma in our minds. I know that no matter what compensation measures we have been trying to take, it can by no means make up for this."
Ma, who was voted into power in 2008, has faced the worst political crisis since his inauguration over the way his administration handled the typhoon and its aftermath.
As a result of public criticism that the government`s response was late and inefficient, several members of Ma`s Cabinet are expected to be replaced in an upcoming reshuffle,
probably this week.
Typhoon Morakot hit the island in early August, bringing powerful winds and torrential rain that left at least 614 people dead and 75 others missing, according to the most
recent figures from the National Fire Agency.