Germany is up: floods lead to its own ‘NL alert’

Germany is working on its own version of NL-Alert. For privacy reasons, the country did not want to use such a warning system for a long time, but after last months deadly floods, the country is over.

Warnings to the population must be passed through all channels, said domestic minister Seehofer at ARD. Such a message can complement sirens, apps, and radio. We really need it. TV reports had already shown that the system in the Netherlands had helped inform the population while at least 180 people died in Germany.

In Germany, many victims complained that they had not been warned at all or just shortly before the flood. Often this happened with loudspeaker cars or chimes, but in some places volunteers had to warn people personally from door to door.

Rigious about past

Cell broadcast sends a warning message to all mobile phones within the range of a given cell tower. This makes it possible to communicate information about hazardous situations quickly, effectively and widely.

In the Netherlands, the US-overwhelmed system was introduced in 2012, but in Germany they remained skeptical. Experiences with the Nazi repression and communist East Germany were reluctant about this type of mass communication means.

The government therefore stresses that no data is collected from users and authorities will not know which numbers a warning message is sent to.

It is still not clear how fast the system can be introduced. Experts think it can take one to one and a half years. For example, the Bundestag will have to adapt the legislation first and the technique has to be rolled out. No cell phone adjustments are required, the technique is standard.