While tensions with China are high, Taiwan prepares its air raid shelters

China has considered Taiwan to be its territory and has accelerated the presence of its military in the air and in the sea around Taiwan

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, August 02, 2022, 01:39 PM IST
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Representative Image | AFP

As tensions between Taiwan and China increase and as Russia invades Ukraine, new worries about a Chinese attack on the democratic island are being raised. Taiwan is building its air-raid shelters in response.

China has considered Taiwan to be its territory and has accelerated the presence of its military in the air and in the sea around Taiwan. However, Taiwan has never back down and has vowed to defend itself. They have made strengthing their defence a priority and have held constant military and civil defence drills.

Taiwan has been preparing and their preparations include setting aside areas where people can hide if Chinese missiles begin to fly in, rather than in specially constructed bunkers, but rather in underground areas like parking garages below ground, the metro system, and underground shopping malls.

More than 4,600 of these shelters can house over 12 million people, which is more than four times the population of Taipei.

As per a report in NDTV an 18-year-old girl, Harmony Wu, and some other young people recently practised some dance movements in an underground retail concourse, they were shocked to learn that in the event of war, the space would be converted into an air-raid shelter.

"Shelter is an absolute necessity. They are to keep us secure since we don't know when a war will break out," Wu spoke at a location close to a Taipei subway station.

"War is gruesome. We haven't encountered it before, therefore we're unprepared "She spoke.

To ensure that people are aware of how to locate their nearest designated shelter, Taipei officials have been upgrading their database of shelters, posting their locations on a smartphone app, and launching a social media and poster campaign.

The number of persons the shelter can accommodate is listed on a yellow label that is about the size of an A4 piece of paper and placed at the entrance.

Events in Europe, according to a senior official in the local administration in charge of the shelters, have heightened the sense of urgency.

Director of the Building Administration Office Abercrombie Yang told Reuters, "Look at the war in Ukraine."

He added that the public needed to be informed because "there's no guarantee that the innocent population won't get hit."

"Every citizen should be aware of potential crises. In the event that Chinese communists attack, we need the shelters."

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