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Taiwan to send text alerts on Sept. 21 in disaster prevention drill

People urged not to panic as they receive cellphone notifications about earthquakes and tsunamis

(Unsplash, <a href="">Rodion Kutsaev</a> image)

(Unsplash, Rodion Kutsaev image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Members of the public are urged not to panic as emergency messages blare across Taiwan’s cellphone and television systems on Wednesday (Sept. 21) morning in a national drill.

People will receive an SMS earthquake alert at 9:21 a.m. and those living in coastal areas will receive a tsunami alert at 9:25 a.m. Between 10:59 a.m. and 11:01 a.m., all TV channels will be switched to the Public Television Service for the airing of disaster prevention information, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

This is part of an annual disaster mitigation campaign to raise awareness and better prepare the public for emergencies. The date marks the Jiji earthquake on Sept. 21 in 1999, the second-deadliest quake in Taiwan's history that claimed more than 2,400 lives.

Meanwhile, Wednesday will also see the country’s 1,000 emergency response personnel mobilized to tackle incidents from a simulation of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that hit eastern Taiwan. The scenarios include mass building and bridge collapses, water and power outages, and rescuing trapped people.

People are invited to participate in a series of online activities held by the National Fire Agency throughout September and October to learn about ways to reduce earthquake hazards.

The exercise comes right after Taiwan experienced a magnitude 6.8 quake on Sunday (Sept. 18). As of 4 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 19), one person died and 146 were injured, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.