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1722 storm line isn't working, say emergency staff
A special phone number set up to alleviate the pressure on the 112 emergency number during bad weather isn't doing its job, a union representing emergency call centre workers has warned.
The 1722 hotline was launched last year for non-urgent weather-related incidents, such as flooding and fallen trees. It is only active during storm alerts and aims to ensure that only essential calls go to 112.
But this week's storms across Belgium have shown that the 1722 number is not sufficiently known and used, according to a rep for the ACV trade union representing emergency call staff in Antwerp.
Leighton Hoovelts told the Gazet van Antwerpen: "Even the people who are aware of the number are spending too long on hold and eventually give up and call 112 instead."
Problems had already been reported in January, when call waiting times on 1722 reached an hour during a spell of stormy weather.
Interior minister Jan Jambon believes 1722 "is working - but the system can still be improved here and there".