The government is allocating a total of SEK 220 million to equip Sweden’s shelters and strengthen the rescue service in the event of heightened preparedness or war.
– The most important thing is to get started with this work because it must not stand still any longer, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin, Minister for Civil Defence.
The news is presented in the Katarinagaraget on Södermalm in Stockholm, a rock room built in the mid-1950s with room for up to 11,000 people in the event of war.
It is one of Sweden’s roughly 65,000 shelters that the government is now allocating SEK 100 million in the autumn budget to equip.
The supply of shelters in Sweden is good, but there needs to be a review of them to be able to discover and remedy errors and shortcomings, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
– It can be about deficiencies in everything from ventilation systems to plumbing to the structure as such.
The background is Russia’s war in Ukraine and the serious security policy situation in Europe that it has given rise to.
– Precisely the access to protected spaces, fortified protected spaces, has proven to be extremely important in being able to maintain the resilience of Ukrainian society, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
The money is given to the Swedish Agency for Community Safety and Preparedness (MSB), which in turn will distribute the funds to property owners whose shelters are of particular priority, for example the Katarina garage, which holds many people.
– These funds may not cover the total need for renovation, but it is a start – and the most important thing is to get started with this work because it must not stand still any longer, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
Money for fast track
In addition to the investment in equipping the shelters, the government also allocates SEK 120 million to MSB to strengthen the municipal rescue service in the event of heightened preparedness or war.
Here, too, there are lessons to be learned from the war in Ukraine, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
– In 2022, the Ukrainian emergency services extinguished 15,000 fires, a significant proportion of which had arisen as a result of shelling. It shows the pressure placed on emergency services in the event of war.
The previous government appointed an inquiry to review how the protection of the civilian population should look in the event of armed attacks. The investigation’s proposal is currently being prepared in the Government Office, but the Swedish Civil Defense has given the current security policy situation no time to wait for that work, according to Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
– But we need to take measures here and now that have an effect here and now. That is why we are adding these funds on a fast track as early as 2024, he says.