Disaster drills must be completed by June: MOE


TAIPEI — The Ministry of Education (MOE) has stipulated that schools at all levels carry out disaster drills before the end of June as part of the government’s effort to improve disaster preparedness, Minister Wu Ching-ji said yesterday.

The drills will be one of the criteria used to evaluate schools’ performance, Wu said after a meeting hosted by President Ma Ying-jeou in response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Also, the ministry will require that schools located near nuclear power plants in New Taipei City and Pingtung County conduct nuclear disaster drills on a regular basis, so as to raise their awareness of potential nuclear accidents, he said.

The president was paying great attention to the issue of school safety and had asked the MOE to make sure that all old schools and those located near earthquake fault lines were reinforced, Wu said.

Current regulations stipulate that schools should be built to withstand earthquakes measuring up to 6 on the intensity scale, but the building standards will the raised to 7, the highest level on the Central Weather Bureau’s scale, to ensure that schools do not collapse in the event of a powerful earthquake, according to Wu.