The app, SAIP, is available for smartphones. (via Twitter)

Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris last November in which 130 people lost their lives, the French government attempted to strengthen its response to emergency situations. One of the ways it attempted to do so was by developing a smartphone app known as SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations).

The app, which is available in both English and French, was launched just before the Euro football tournament held last month but was reportedly unsuccessful in alerting users of the violence that unfolded in Nice, France, late Thursday evening when a truck drove through crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people.

According to some users, the application was three hours late in sending out an alert and warning people to avoid the dangerous area.

Jason Murdock of the International Business Times writes:

With first reports of the incident emerging at around 11pm, users on social media slammed the Saip application for not sending any alerts until two hours after the attack. Timestamps on a number of tweets alongside screenshotted images back up the claims.

One user wrote: “Alert on #SAIP that fires two hours after the tragedy… What is the usefulness of the application?” With clear sarcasm, another said: “The application launched by the #SAIP@gouvernementFR is obviously very effective tonight.”

According to Amar Toor of The Verge, the app is supposed to send out an alert within 15 minutes of the crisis. “It is not yet clear what caused the delay,” Toor wrote, “though experts had warned that the app may struggle if cellular networks are congested following an attack.”

Additionally, the French journalist Anaëlle Grondin tweeted that one government source cited a “technical problem” as the source of the delay.

People in the area of the truck attack reportedly relied on Facebook for a safety check-in. Murdock notes that this is “the third time the [Facebook] feature has been used in two months, being activated following recent incidents in Orlando, Florida and Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.”

In addition to the scores killed Thursday night in Nice, more than 200 were wounded, and many of them are still in critical condition. Details about the driver of the truck used in the attack are still emerging, and French President François Hollande has called the incident a terrorist attack.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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