New emergency warning system launched in Germany

New emergency warning system launched in Germany

After an update to the previous national warning system, almost all mobile phones in Germany can now receive catastrophe alert messages. But feedback from the previous Warntag (Warning Day) suggests there is still room for improvement.

New catastrophe alert text system launched

Germany’s most recent Warntag on December 8, 2022, will still be fresh in the memory of many. Though the German government deemed the practice test successful, some confused citizens didn’t receive the warning text on their mobile phones.

Some mobile phone owners being left behind is hopefully a problem of the past. As of February 23, 2023, mobile phones reachable via the cell broadcast radio network - that is, virtually all mobile phones - will receive future warning alerts.

That said, there are still circumstances under which citizens with mobile phones might not receive a message in future, for example, if they have not installed the latest updates to their phones or the phone is in flight mode. According to estimates by network provider Vodafone, this could amount to as many as 25 percent of phones in Germany still failing to receive an emergency warning.

Another criticism of the previous Warntag was the alert text recipients could not find and re-read the alert message on their phone once it had been swiped away from the lock screen.

Why does Germany need an emergency message system?

The previous alert system used in Germany, the one that sent texts out on December 8, was introduced following the devastating floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate during the summer of 2021.

Following the death of 180 people, investigators revealed that warning texts and evacuation orders were communicated too late to those in flooded or at-risk areas.

In response, German officials decided to adopt a warning system already used in other EU countries. Mobile companies were then instructed to roll out the new warning system by February 23, 2023.

As climate change has caused increased flooding and wildfire risk across Germany in the last few years, it is hoped that the newly designed system will aid such situations.

Thumb image credit: megaflopp /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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