Four-day Wanan air defense drills to start Monday

07/24/2022 04:15 PM
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Military policemen direct a car to pull over during a mock exercise in Taipei Friday. CNA photo July 22, 2022
Military policemen direct a car to pull over during a mock exercise in Taipei Friday. CNA photo July 22, 2022

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) The annual Wanan air defense exercise is scheduled to be held in different areas across Taiwan from Monday to Thursday, with civilians required to shelter in place during the drills, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has said.

Air raid sirens will go off at 1:30 p.m. to signal the start of the 30-minute drills on Monday in northern Taiwan, Tuesday in central Taiwan, Wednesday in southern Taiwan, and Thursday in eastern Taiwan and outlying counties, the ministry said.

Under the MND's zoning system for the drills, northern Taiwan covers Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu County and City, and Yilan County; and central Taiwan comprises Taichung, Miaoli County, Changhua County, Nantou County, Yunlin County, and Chiayi County and City.

Southern Taiwan covers Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung County, with the eastern and outlying areas covering Hualien, Taitung, Penghu, Kinmen, and Lienchiang counties.

The air defense exercise this year, coded as No. 45, is aimed at raising public awareness of emergency warnings to reduce the possibility of casualties and damage if such attacks do take place, said military spokesman Sun Li-fang (孫立方).

Most vehicular road traffic and pedestrian movement will be suspended, as is usually done during Taiwan's air raid drills, while some people will receive a text message on their phone notifying them about an air attack drill, according to the MND.

Metro services, freeway traffic, and aircraft flights will operate normally, but disembarked passengers should follow instructions from evacuation personnel, the ministry said.

However, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp., which operates the city's metro system, announced that passengers will not be able to leave stations between 1:30 p.m-2 p.m. on Monday and will need to stay either on platforms or hall areas.

An empty road during the 2018 Wanan air defense exercise in Hualien County. CNA file photo
An empty road during the 2018 Wanan air defense exercise in Hualien County. CNA file photo

This year, an even stricter evacuation protocol will be applied to selected urban villages across Taiwan, where all vehicles will not only be required to be parked but their drivers and passengers will also need to step out and follow instructions to find shelter, the MND said.

The affected administrative areas are Kuangchu village in Taipei's Xinyi District, Fengle village in Taichung's Nantun District, and Tungchiao village in Tainan's Yongkang District, it said.

However, the Taipei City government said Sunday that the entire city will follow the evacuation protocol applied to the Kuangchu village amid tightened defense drills for the capital.

Those who violate evacuation controls will be subject to a fine of between NT$30,000-NT$150,000 (US$1,007-US$5,038) under the Civil Defense Act, according to the MND.

(By Matt Yu and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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