Finland counted its bomb shelters and found 50,500 of them

Security specialist Tapio Hietakangas walks with an employee in a tunnel of Santa Park near Rovaniemi, Finland, May 24, 2022. Picture taken May 24, 2022. (REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov/File Photo)

Finland has finished inventorying its existing bomb shelters in a government effort prompted by neighboring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, and found it has 50,500 of them, its interior ministry said.

Finland joined the NATO military alliance in April in a historic security policy U-turn but it had kept preparing for the possibility of a conflict with Russia for decades, after fighting back an invasion attempt by the Soviet Union during WW2.

The wary Nordic country made the construction of emergency shelters mandatory under apartment blocks and office buildings as early as in the 1950s, which explains their current high number.

The government’s census concluded that the Nordic nation of 5.5 million people has some 50,500 bomb shelters that can fit 4.8 million inhabitants in them in case of an emergency or an attack, the ministry said.

It also found that 91% of the shelters are robust enough to sustain an attack conducted with conventional weapons, while 83% are equipped to also provide shelter from gas emissions or nuclear emergencies.

 “At the same time, it must be stated that in a small number of shelters there are faults that prevent them from being put into use within the 72 hours required by law,” project manager Ira Pasi of the interior ministry said in a statement.

The shelters are equipped with ventilators, impervious doors, stackable beds and even dry closets, as required by the latest law that dates back to 2011.

During peacetime, some of the underground shelters house swimming pools, sports centers or – as in the very north of the country – a Santa Claus theme park.

The shelters are maintained by each building’s owners and the government called for their proper upkeeping.

 “Over the decades, Finland has built a civil protection infrastructure worth billions of euros, which is worth taking care of,” Pasi said.

Related stories from around the North: 

Arctic:  The longer Ukraine conflict lasts, the bigger the implications for the Arctic: paper, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: U.S. report claims Trudeau told NATO Canada will never meet military spending target, CBC News

China: Satellite imagery reveals construction progress on new Chinese Antarctic base, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandRussian cyber attacks, espionage pose growing threat to Finnish national security, Yle news

Greenland: Growing focus on Arctic puts Greenland at higher risk of cyber attacks: assessment, Eye on the Arctic

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arct

Norway: Expelled ‘diplomats’ left Norway via Kirkenes and Istanbul, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian Arctic rescue exercise attended by observers from Iran and Saudi Arabia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Russian spy ships surveying Nordic energy infrastructure, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic


Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *