Video and photos of Wan An air raid drill today in Taipei

Video and photos of today's 40th Wan An air raid drill simulating an attack from China today in Taipei

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Zhonghua Road during Wan An drill. (Photo by Andy Ip)

Zhonghua Road during Wan An drill. (Photo by Andy Ip)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The 40th annual Wan An exercise (萬安演習), a drill simulating an air attack by Chinese military forces, was held today in northern Taiwan.

Today's drill, code-named Wan An No. 41, was held between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Yilan County, Keelung, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, and Hsinchu County.

The nationwide Wan An air raid drill will be held around the island from June 4 through June 7 from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and is divided into seven regions:

June 4: North

June 5: South, Kinmen

June 6: East, Matsu Islands

June 7: Central, Penghu

​Before the drill even started, at the corner of Jinshan South Road and Xinyi Road, an elderly woman tried to run across Xinyi Road at the last second, but she stumbled and landed on her face halfway down the zebra crossing. She was escorted to the other side by a police officer who discovered that she was bleeding from her forehead. An ambulance soon arrived during the drill to take her to the hospital for treatment.


Elderly woman being helped to her feet by police officer. (Taiwan News photo)


Elderly woman being loaded into ambulance. (Taiwan News photo)

The first Wan An drill was held in 1978 after Chiang Ching-kuo had been elected president by the National Assembly. Due to increased concerns over Taiwan's safety after being removed from the UN in 1971, Chiang initiated an air raid preparedness drill for citizens to "prepare for danger in times of peace" and dubbed it the "Mega Peace Exercise" (萬安演習).

The drill has continued for exactly 40 years now and as tensions with China have ratcheted up since President Tsai Ing-wen's election in 2016 and with 1,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan from China, the drills seem more relevant than ever.

In compliance with the National Defense Act and provisions of the National Defense Mobilization Preparation Act, the Wan An exercises are mainly meant to verify the mobile combat capabilities, and evacuate the streets to allow for traffic controls and air-raid siren tests to enhance the national emergency response capabilities.

Pedestrians and motorists who fail to follow instructions and clear the streets during the half hour exercise may be fined NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 (US$1,000 to US$5,000).


Taipei's Ximending. (Photo by Andy Ip)


Police officer directs confused tourists away from the street. (CNA image)


Police officer escorting elderly man away from the street. (CNA image)


Taipei's Ximending. (Photo by Andy Ip)


Shop closes its metal shutter as drill begins in Taipei's Ximending. (Photo by Andy Ip)


Man stretches as people take cover in Taipei's Ximending. (Photo by Andy Ip)