Lithuania Embarks on Building Shelters for its Population
Lithuania has unveiled a new strategy to bolster civil defense efforts, developed by the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs. This strategy outlines the key directions for the development of Lithuania's civil defense until 2030 and is set to be presented to the government for approval on October 20, as reported by LRT.
Agne Bilotaite, the head of the Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, emphasized that the field of civil protection has long been in a state of degradation. Given the current geopolitical situation, modernization of this sector is imperative.
"Absence of a clear strategy, low funding, and lack of leadership have generated systemic weaknesses in the field of civil protection. I believe that the newly developed concept establishes solid foundations for the civil defense system," explained Agne Bilotaite.
The new strategy outlines priorities for the modernization of the civil defense system.
Alerting the Population to Danger
In Lithuania, there are 927 warning sirens that cover only 37% of the population in case of danger. 67% of surveyed citizens receive short warnings on their mobile phones. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs aims to reach 99% of the population with warnings sent through both sirens and short messages. The new strategy proposes the creation of a comprehensive warning system that includes various communication channels.
Development of Protective Structures
Local self-government bodies in Lithuania already possess buildings suitable as temporary shelters. Currently, there are 2537 such objects. However, only 29% of the population will be able to use these shelters in case of need. The Ministry of Internal Affairs plans for up to 50% of the population (60% in cities and 40% in rural areas) to find refuge in protective structures if necessary. The strategy also includes provisions for evacuating the most vulnerable population groups to pre-designated locations.
Plans for Local Authorities
According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the majority of institutions lack preparedness plans for emergencies, as well as the necessary reserves and tools. According to the new strategy, state and local institutions need to establish secure workspaces in operational centers for unforeseen situations.
Civil Defense Experts
The strategy envisions introducing civil defense experts with clear responsibilities and duties in local authorities and ministries.
Raising Public Awareness
The Ministry of Internal Affairs believes that it is time to update the information resource LT72, which provides advice on preparing for disasters and emergencies. Additionally, plans are underway to introduce educational programs on civil defense, particularly focusing on hybrid and military threats.
Potential Accident at the Ostrovets NPP
A separate aspect of the strategy is dedicated to a potential radiation or nuclear accident at the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus. According to calculations, preparing for a possible accident at this facility would require allocating 91.5 million euros over five years.