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Luxembourg to test disaster alert system on Monday
Alert system

Luxembourg to test disaster alert system on Monday

by John MONAGHAN 2 min. 29.04.2022 From our online archive
Entire population will receive text message, under measures unveiled following criticism of lack of warnings ahead of last summer's flooding
Parts of Luxembourg were hit by torrential flooding in mid-July last year
Parts of Luxembourg were hit by torrential flooding in mid-July last year
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Every Luxembourg resident will receive a government text alert on Monday, as the country tests its new disaster response system, following criticism about a lack of warnings during last summer’s devastating floods.

An SMS message will be sent to all phones in Luxembourg at noon on Monday, according to a joint statement released on Friday afternoon by the Ministry of State, Interior Ministry and the High Commission for National Protection.

The message will clearly state “No action required” in English, French and German, the government said, to reassure residents that it is a test.

The exercise will be carried out at the same time as the test of the country’s siren network, which takes place on the first Monday of the month at noon.

Monday’s alert on the mobile phone network will be the first in a series of regular tests, authorities added.

It will assist in identifying areas of improvement in the response system and is aimed at preparing the public for “emergency or crisis situations that could have an impact on public safety”, the government said, such as “a natural disaster, an industrial accident or an attack”.

At the unveiling of the new measures in March, the government said that one single alert will in future be broadcast on to mobile phones, social media and sirens spread throughout the country.

During storms in February, the government sent out text alerts via the GouvAlert system to mobile phones. But last year, a government minister conceded that just 15,000 people had signed up to the system. The rest would need to find the information on government websites.

In the days following the floods last July, many people who suffered damage to their homes and businesses criticised the government, for not doing enough to warn them of the risks of the upcoming floods. 

At the time, flood warnings appeared only on a government website that many people said they were not aware even existed.

In October, the total cost of the damage was estimated by private insurers at €125 million, making it the most expensive event in the history of the insurance industry in Luxembourg, the ACA (l'Association des Compagnies d’Assurances et de Réassurances) said in a statement. Around 6,000 people had received compensation from insurance companies by that stage, ACA said.

The government announced a support package of €100 million for those affected, but just a fraction of that total - €12 million – had been paid out by mid-March, ministers said earlier this month. Requests for compensation totalling €34 million for damage were reported to authorities.

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