For the first time since the Cold War, the German Government is asking citizens to start storing food and drink in case of a national emergency.
Opposition Members of Parliament said this new civil defence concept was frightening people unnecessarily.
Citizens are being urged to stock up on enough food for at least ten days. It has been stated that in the event of a disaster the national emergency services could find themselves in a crisis situation. Germans were also urged to store two bottles of water for each person on a daily basis for five days.
The German electronic site Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) said this measure was included in a document prepared by the German Home Affairs Ministry, which is to be discussed tomorrow by Government Ministers.
The document states that in the event of an attack on German territory, the necessity for conventional defence is not envisaged. It adds, however, that a major security threat to the country cannot be excluded in the future, and it was therefore necessary to prepare civil defence measures.
As soon as the document emerged many Germans began posting on Twitter ironic comments about this measure, with the hashtag Hamsterkaeufe (panic buying).
Home Affairs Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a group of schoolchildren that Germany had to be prepared to react in case of poisoning of food and water reserves and interruption of oil and gas supplies.
The leader of the Leftist party Die Linke, Dietmar Bartsch, criticised this measure and said Government could not destabilise the people with these proposals. And the leader of the Greens party, Konstantin von Notz, said it made sense for the civil defence document to be updated, as it has not been touched since 1995. Von Notz warned, however, against confusing terrorism scenarios with the possibility of military action. He added that he did not envisage any scenario of an attack on Germany which should lead to the people storing food and drink from now.