Astrid Nolte
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319
Fri, 07.02.2003
pte20030207024 Media/Communications, Computer/Telecommunications
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Mobile phones used for flood warnings
Germany seeks new ways to warn public in emergencies

Berlin (pte024/07.02.2003/12:02) - Over half a year after violent flooding swept through many parts of the country, Germany is looking for more efficient ways to alert the public in case of terrorist attack or natural catastrophe.

As announced yesterday by German Minister of the Interior Otto Schilly, the government has devised a new catastrophe protection strategy, and is examining the use of mobile phones and the Internet to issue early alerts.

According to Schilly, the devastation of last year's floods revealed that Germany needed to improve its warning system, which currently includes sirens, radio, television and press agencies. Mobile phones and the Internet may provide additional ways of reaching the public quickly. The government is also looking into the possibility of supplementary warnings through regular telephone lines

"Our system of civil protection and catastrophe warnings is facing a new challenge since the attacks of September 11 and the disastrous flooding of the Elbe, the Danube and its tributaries. The federal government has taken these two events as cause for the development of a new strategy for the protection of Germany's population," said Schilly. The system should be designed especially for national emergencies and the better coordination of relief workers.

As a first step, the government has moved its federal and regional warning and information systems to the Central Office for Civil Protection, which has been active since last autumn. Federal and regional warning systems are to be linked through the German Emergency Prevention Information System. The first phase of this data platform was completed in mid December.

Submitter: pressetext.europe
Contact: Astrid Nolte
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319