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2024 Wanan air defense drill to be held July 22 to 25

07/09/2024 12:42 PM
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Streets in Taipei's Xinyi District are seen empty during the Wanan air defense exercise in 2022. CNA file photo
Streets in Taipei's Xinyi District are seen empty during the Wanan air defense exercise in 2022. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 9 (CNA) The annual Wanan air defense exercise will be held around Taiwan from July 22 to July 25, and people will be required to shelter in place when the drills are conducted in their area, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday.

Air raid sirens signaling the start of the 30-minute drills will sound at 1:30 p.m. on July 22 in central Taiwan, July 23 in northern Taiwan, July 24 in eastern Taiwan and outlying counties, and July 25 in southern Taiwan, said Chu Sen-tsuen (朱森村) of the MND's All-out Defense Mobilization Office.

Before and after the 30-minute drills, air defense drill alerts will be sent via text messaging to people's mobile phones.

The text message alerting people that a drill will soon begin will be in both Chinese and English and read "Incoming missile/rocket threat, seek immediate shelter" in English, Chu said.

The bilingual text message announcing the conclusion of the drill will read "Air defense alert lifted" in English, he said.

Following the half-hour air raid drills, local governments will stage another 30 minutes of drills to test shelter operations and check if utilities are working and supplies are sufficient, Chu said.

The Wanan air defense drill was first launched in 1978 to raise public awareness of emergency warnings and reduce the possibility of casualties and damage if attacks occur.

Under the ministry's zoning system for the drills, northern Taiwan includes Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, and Yilan County, while southern Taiwan covers Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County.

The eastern and outlying areas cover Hualien, Taitung, Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang (Matsu) counties, while central Taiwan comprises Taichung and Chiayi cities and Miaoli, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin, and Chiayi counties.

In all of those areas, drivers will be asked to stop their vehicles during the drill and seek shelter with passengers while following police instructions. Violators could face fines of up to NT$150,000 (US$4,610).

(By Joseph Yeh)

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