Taiwan preps air raid shelters in malls, subways

STORY: It's an emergency drill for regular everyday people, in war.

These are civilians in Taiwan, where Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Taiwan's own ongoing and worsening hostilities with China are raising new fears of the possibility of a Chinese attack on the democracy.

And so, Taiwanese authorities are also pushing another precaution: prepping their air raid shelters.

Not purpose-built bunkers, but safe places in subways, underground shopping malls, underground parking lots, and so on.

Putting the locations in a smartphone app and posters, and launching a social media campaign to get people ready.

Wu Enoch is a politician with Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party.

"“Almost everyone has a basement in their building, it doesn’t matter if they’re categorized as an official shelter. What’s important is to know what you need to bring with you, what’s currently there… is for you to be able to stay there for a long period of time. For example, a lot of shelters don’t have bathrooms and we’re training our students, we’re training our participants to understand that when you go to a bare-bones place, how do you improvise, how do you use what you have. And if you have a little more preparation, how do you prepare your grab-and-go bag, so that once you’re there, you have the medical supplies to help people, you have the tools you need to build a makeshift toilet, you know how to separate where you eat and where you use the bathroom. I think these are very useful skills that we’re trying to teach our participants.”

China considers Taiwan its territory and has increased military activity in the air and seas around it.

Some civil defense advocates believe more needs to be done.

For example shelters are required by law to be kept clean and open, but they aren't required to be stockpiled with food and water.

The capital of Taipei has 4,600 shelters with enough space to accommodate 12 million people - that's over four times its population.

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