THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A major telephone outage hit the Netherlands on Monday, taking down the country’s emergency number and leaving many businesses and municipalities unreachable by phone.

Police sent officers onto the streets so that people could approach them for emergency help and issued an alternative emergency phone number an hour after the outage began around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).

“We’re appealing to everybody who wants to report an emergency and needs help to … go onto the street. Police officers with walkie-talkies are taking to the streets as much as possible so they can be spoken to,” police spokeswoman Suzanne van de Graaf told national broadcaster NOS.

Telecom provider KPN reported on its website that the nationwide outage affected both landlines and mobile services. It said work was underway to find a solution.

Some police forces advised people to use social media if they need to contact emergency services, while others advised people to go to public buildings if they need urgent help.

The cause of the outage was not immediately clear.