Taiwan tests its readiness for wide range of disasters
Taiwan staged a large anti-terrorism and disaster-response drill at Taipei's port yesterday, simulating various kinds of terrorist attack, a radiation leak and contamination by poisonous chemicals.
Codenamed the 2011 Chinhua Exercise, it was the largest anti-terrorism and anti-disaster drill held in Taiwan, testing the capabilities of various military and government departments in countering criminals holding a bus load of passengers hostage, an attack on a fishing boat and dealing with a vessel carrying radioactive and other poisonous chemical materials.
More than 73 vehicles, 27 patrol boats, seven sea attack and rescue helicopters, and some 1,233 military personnel and government officials from Taiwan's navy, army, coastguard, criminal and harbour police and fire-fighting, environmental, transport and health departments took part in the drill.
Scenarios included an attack on a bus loaded with passengers and terrorist attacks on a fishing boat and a ship transporting chemicals. Armed with specially designed axes, members of a military police special force broke at the bus' windows, overpowered the hostage takers and freed the passengers.
Other special forces from the army, navy, coastguard and police also showed their capabilities in dealing with various kinds of terrorist attacks from the sea, including terrorists holding vessels hostage.
Specialists from the environmental and health departments were on hand to deal with a radiation leak and contamination by poisonous chemicals following the attacks.
'Although Taiwan is not the primary target of international terrorists, various departments must be able to deal with any attacks by terrorists,' said Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, who presided over the opening of the drill. He called on government agencies to be well-prepared for any contingencies.
Premier Wu Den-yih, who also attended the opening, said the authorities needed to be able to cope with radiation after the recent nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.
The percentage of Taiwan's GDP that will go on defence spending this year, equivalent to NT$374.8 billion (HK$100.8 billion)