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Stockpile food in case of attack, Germany tells citizens

The 69-page document said Germany should be ready in case of an 'existence-threatening development'. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Berlin, Germany Aug 24, 2016, 10.04 PM (IST)
Germany urged its population to stockpile food and water to prepare for possible terrorist or cyber attacks yesterday.

The citizens were encouraged to store food for 10 days and water to last five.

This is the country's first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War. The plan marks the first broad update since 1995, when a dismantling of federal civil defence structures was advocated as security policies were eased in the wake of German reunification.

The 69-page document said that Germany should be ready in case of an "existence-threatening development" and warned that the environment on which the security policy was previously based has changed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand" right-left coalition of scaremongering was accused ahead of key state elections in September.

Twitterati mocked the strategy with the hashtag #hamsterkaeufe (squirrelling away) and photos of the furry rodent widely circulating.  

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere rejected the criticism, saying that there must be preparation for any kind of disaster.

"It's only responsible, sensible and appropriate to make cool-headed preparations for a catastrophe scenario," he said, stressing that "every country in the world does that". He also challenged charges of electioneering, arguing that the strategy is the result of a long reflection process that had been in 2012.

While acknowledging that "an attack on German territory requiring conventional defence is unlikely," Europe's biggest economy should be "sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future that cannot be ruled out," the strategy document said.

"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, conflict driven by terrorist means and cyberspace attacks can be a direct threat to Germany and its allies," it said.

de Maiziere said the strategy advocates emergency plans for any breakdown in key energy and water infrastructures as the people and the government was heavily dependent on both the power and IT networks 

A string of attacks at home in July - including two claimed by the Islamic State group - has sparked a fierce debate about internal security.

The defence ministry is looking at training the military to respond to major terror assaults, while de Maiziere announced tough new anti-terror measures including a controversial proposal to strip jihadist fighters of their German nationality.

Haunted by its Nazi past, Europe's most populous country has for decades been particularly cautious about military and defence issues. But this year it set out a new roadmap outlining Germany's ambition to assume a bigger security role abroad, within the frameworks of NATO and the European Union.

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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