Main image credit: Reuters

Two weeks ago, a series of storms swept across Romania, killing eight people and injuring 70. In Alba County, 15 thousand people were left without power. In response, the Romanian government is implementing an emergency warning system through SMS as part of its emergency intervention services upgrade.

The storms were reported to have delayed 112 trains for a combined total of 243 hours by Transylvania Today. Euronews reported that the storms caused several wild fires to start because of power arcing from damaged power lines to nearby trees. The Romanian Inspectorate for Emergency Situations released a statement saying that 212 different locations reported damages, and winds were reported to have reached up to 100 kilometers an hour, causing extensive damage to private property and blocking many roads.

Image Credit: Romania Insider

In response to the loss of life and extensive damages, the Romanian government is creating an emergency warning system that will operate through SMS–a 600 million Euro upgrade of its emergency response services. On September 18, a meeting was held between the Department of Emergency Situations, the Special Telecommunications Service, and several other organizations to discuss the implementation of the SMS warning system. Several more meetings are expected by this group, and in conjunction with this meeting, the Romanian government issued a statement declaring: “The emergency warning system is a priority of the Romanian government in the western part of the country.” The emergency warning system has been dubbed “Sistem Alert”by the Romanian government.

Adrian Dita, president of ANCOM was quoted by Romania insider as saying: “The System will be working in a few weeks.” Authorities have planned a public information campaign informing the public on how to use the new emergency warning system. Sistem Alert is going to be modeled after other EU nations emergency warning systems that also utilize SMS.

It is believed unusually warm weather in Romania, combined with a cold front coming in from Bosnia and Herzegovina, caused these severe storms. Many Romanians caught in the storm were helpless, and Nicolae Robu said that he “stood on the field crossing [himself],” as told to Business Insider.

More storms are expected, so it is advised to continue to check the forecast before heading out for an extensive period. We will continue to report on further developments concerning the SMS Sistem Alert, as they become available.