Streets were empty and road traffic came to a standstill in the cities and towns of central Taiwan yesterday as the annual Wanan military drill (萬安演習) took place from 1:30pm to 2pm.
“Although we live in relative safety, every citizen must stay vigilant about possible danger,” Chia-yi County Commissioner Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠) said.
Refering to the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday and a couple of recent incidents in Taiwan in which explosive devices were placed in public places, Chang added: “We do not know when disasters might strike. The public must therefore be on the alert to minimize damage and injury from any such events.”
Code-named “Wanan No. 36,” yesterday’s drill was carried out throughout central Taiwan, including in Greater Taichung and Chiayi City, as well as Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin and Chiayi counties, simulating Chinese jet fighters crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, prompting air-raid sirens and evacuation procedures.
The normally busy downtown area of Chiayi City saw all shops close their doors for business during the drill. Many of them also pulled their steel sliding shutters down.
Government agencies and offices shut their doors and windows, while military police and defense personnel took over traffic control, suspended road traffic and led people to take refuge in designated shelters.
High-speed trains carried on normal operations, but when passing through drill-affected areas all lights on the trains were turned off.
All shuttle buses and taxis at high-speed railway stations were required to come to a halt.
On the high-speed trains, announcements were made to remind passengers to be on the lookout for unattended luggage, and if any suspicious luggage was seen, they should contact train service personnel to handle the situation.
Additional reporting by Tsai Chung-hsun and Wang Shan-yen