When the German government advised its citizens to stockpile food and water for a national emergency, people expected something worse.
A 69-page Interior Ministry document published by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine on Monday said that citizens were advised to store enough food to 10 days.
But in a statement to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the German government clarified they were suggesting people stockpile only *if* there is a war or a national emergency.
"It is not about unsettling the population or preparing for concrete threats. But when it comes to administrative preparations we have to plan thoroughly and independently," the statement read.
It went on to say that preparing for emergencies is "reasonable" and entirely down to each individual. The spokesperson added that the announcement was not new and merely updated pre-existing guidelines.
This did not prevent German social media users from making the most of a hamster-related pun — the German word "Hamsterkäufe machen" means to "buy in order to hoard" or "panic buy." So obviously this happened:
The announcement was criticized by some German politicians. Dietmar Bartsch, head of the left-wing Die Linke party, told the BBC: "You can completely unsettle people with yet another round of proposals, such as hoarding supplies."
The civil defense proposal has not been updated since 1995, according to a German Green Party politician. According to Germany's national emergency protocols, bunkers cannot legally be converted for other uses and stores of food and water are still in place in secret locations around the country.