Alarm centre receives record number of notifications

The NEOC headquarters in Zurich receives notifications from Switzerland and abroad Keystone

Switzerland's National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) received over 500 notifications in 2001, an all-time record.

This content was published on January 3, 2002 - 15:03

Overall, 535 emergency notices were registered with the NEOC, a third more than the previous high in 2000.

The centre's work involved dispensing information rather than taking specific preventive measures following notification.

The largest number of notifications, 187, concerned alerts involving nuclear facilities in Switzerland and abroad.

Anthrax scares also accounted for 77 notifications, while earthquakes were registered 75 times with the centre.

No increased danger

The NEOC said on Thursday the Swiss population was in no more danger than in previous years, despite the large increase. Many of the warnings were due to tighter regulations, as well as an improved flow of information from power companies and the authorities.

Major events for the NEOC in 2001 included issues related to the use of depleted uranium in Kosovo, the end of the Russian Mir space station and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The NEOC expects more work in 2002. The government recently decided to centralise all alerts related to natural catastrophes.

The NEOC has dealt so far mainly with alerts concerning radioactivity, earthquakes, hydroelectric facilities, geological, chemical and biological issues, and satellite re-entry.

swissinfo with agencies

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