July flood report calls for upgrade of public warning system


July flood report calls for upgrade of public warning system

Floods

First official government recognition of shortcomings, after those affected said they had not been warned enough before the flood

First official government recognition of shortcomings, after those affected said they had not been warned enough before the flood

The aftermath of the floods in Echternach in July

Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Luxembourg’s warning system for warning the public of extreme weather conditions must be improved, according to a government report on the devastating July floods, in the first official admission of shortcomings after residents’ anger at not having been sufficiently warned in advance.

Potential measures to improve the current system and reach an even larger part of the public could include closer cooperation with the media or more effective use of social media, according to a summary of the report on the parliament’s website.

Home Secretary Taina Bofferding and Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg briefed lawmakers on the findings in a joint closed session of their respective committees on Thursday, but the full report has yet to be released. .

In the aftermath of the July flood, residents complained that they had not received adequate warnings of impending flooding, with some suggesting the government should have sent push notifications to people’s mobile devices.

At the time, the government defended its response, claiming that it had taken sufficient steps to inform the public by relaying the warnings to the Luxembourg media and updating its flood warning website, floodings.lu. The report represents the first official recognition that the government could have managed the crisis better.

The estimated cost of damage from torrential rains is 120 million euros, the professional insurers association announced in July, making it the costliest event in the history of the industry. insurance in Luxembourg.

In August, Bofferding also said the government would work on introducing a “cell broadcast system,” which sends text messages to warn people of hazards such as flooding – already widely used in countries like Japan. and the United States.

After reading the report, opposition lawmakers reiterated their earlier call for an independent investigation into the events leading up to the floods, according to the meeting summary.




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