For the first time since the Cold war the German government is advising its citizens to stock up on water and food for use in the event of a terrorist attack or national emergency, Reuters reports.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved the new civil defence plans despite suggestions the report was scaremongering and Germans mocking the plans on social media using the hashtag "Hamsterkaeufe" (panic-buying, or literally ‘hamster-buying’).

The strategy, unveiled on Wednesday, outlines precautionary steps for scenarios such as terrorism, chemical weapons and cyber attacks, Reuters reports.

The 70-page plan recommends Germans buy five days' worth of water and 10 days' worth of food in the event of a national crisis.

It also outlines the need for a more extensive alarm system to alert people when there is an emergency, improved protection for buildings and medical care.

The report also raises the possibility of reintroducing conscription in the case of national emergency, an idea which has caused concern in Germany which only suspended compulsory military service in 2011.

Asked about it at a news conference, a defence ministry spokesman said there were no plans to reintroduce conscription.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere rejected suggestions that the report was scaremongering and said it was not linked to an immediate threat.

"It is responsible politics to prepare appropriately, with a cool head, for catastrophe scenarios even if the likelihood of them occurring is improbable," he told reporters.

Germany is currently on high alert after recent attacks in the country. In July nine people were killed by a gunman during a shooting incident in Munich, while 15 people were injured in a separate attack involving a suicide bomb in Ansbach.