Mon, Sep 02, 2019 - Page 3 News List

AFA preparedness drills conducted in Pingtung County

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Agricultural and Food Agency staff take part in an emergency-preparedness drill at a Council of Agriculture grain storage facility in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township on Saturday.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

The Agricultural and Food Agency (AFA) held drills in Pingtung County over the weekend to test the readiness of logistics personnel to stabilize food supplies in the event of a natural disaster or an invasion by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The drills were held by the AFA’s southern region branch in Hengchun Township (恆春), and the emphasis was on command of and coordination between various government departments, including the military, Taiwan Power Co and emergency medical and fire personnel.

Growing concerns about the instability of China’s relations with Taiwan and the US, which could eventually lead to war, led it to organize the drills, the agency said.

The measures practiced in the drill would be implemented if the president received foreign intelligence suggesting an impending PLA invasion attempt, and how they would respond should the command center come under attack and personnel be injured, it said.

The drills were held in a Council of Agriculture grain storage facility, it said.

“We hope there will be nothing to worry about in regard to agriculturally important Pingtung County’s grain supplies during a war,” AFA Director Yao Chih-wang (姚志旺) said.

Although the agency holds such drills annually, they are rotated between its four divisions nationwide so that each division only holds the drills once every four years, he said.

Two of this year’s drills simulated the aftermath of a major typhoon and a PLA attack on government facilities, he said.

“Visitors who observed the drills said the simulations were the most realistic to date,” he said.

Pingtung is the nation’s third-largest producer of grain products, with an annual output of NT$28.85 billion (US$918.5 million) worth of grains, Yao said.

Its animal husbandry output is the second-greatest in the nation at NT$32.46 billion, while its seafood output is the nation’s largest, at NT$12.2 billion, he said.

“Add to this the presence of an air force base, training bases for three branches of the armed services and a nuclear power plant, and you can see why the county is so strategically important,” he added.

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