These warning sirens that are no longer really scary in Ukraine
The contrast with the beginning of the war is flagrant. In the first weeks, the citizens took refuge in large numbers in the bomb shelters which, very often, were parking lots, basements or subway stations.
Today, unless they are in the Donbass region besieged by Russian forces, there is a feeling of security among the Ukrainian population, even if here and there bombardments take place, but often outside the major centers urban.
In order to compensate for the lack of efficiency of these loudspeakers which broadcast the famous sirens – which, it must be said, seem to date from the Soviet era and are not very audible in certain cities – there are several applications and websites whose mission is to alert citizens.
For example, the Air Alert app was built in a day by Ajax Systems and St Falcon, local companies, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation. It provides information on the start and end of air, chemical, and other types of civil defense system emergencies, providing the loudest possible alarms (the same siren sound), even when the phone is in silent or standby mode.
Valentine Hrytsenko, head of marketing at Ajax Systems explains that his company has created
the digital interface for activating these alerts in cities and regions. The success is there: no less than 7.5 million downloads of the application for a population of 44 million people.
The alerts are also relayed on social networks by other good Samaritans who have set up emergency messaging services. This is the case of Bernard Moerdler, a young American based in Israel who created a
Ukraine Siren Alerts on Twitter. Its system identifies and relays alerts in real time throughout Ukraine. Each alert can be viewed on a map with location, date and time information.
His source of inspiration? His girlfriend remained in Ukraine.
I created these siren alerts for her and for strangers so they can follow what is happening for their families back home.
But also, Bernard Moerdler is worried about the relaxation of citizens in the face of alerts.
” It’s a bit the opposite of the story of the boy who cried wolf all the time, but in the other direction. There is a risk that a real alert will not be taken seriously with the havoc it can cause. »
In the coming days, he will launch an application and a website which will also make it possible to locate the 24,000 bomb shelters spread over the territory. To encourage Ukrainians to take these alarms seriously, it will also add an important feature:
a newsfeed that actually shows why the alert went offhe explains.
Instead, Valentine Hrytsenko, head of marketing at Ajax Systems, believes that people want to get back to normal life, especially since many of these attacks fail quite often.
Unless there is a quick end to the war (more than unlikely if we are to believe the situation that persists), the sirens will continue to sound in Ukraine, whether the citizens respect them or not.