Sunday, March 13, 2022

Demand for Bomb Shelters and Iodine Pills Skyrockets in Europe

As noted earlier, I seriously doubt World War III is imminent, but the Europeans aren't taking any chances.

At NYT, "Pandemic Fears Give Way to a Rush for Bomb Shelters":

Since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, European anxiety has shifted from Covid to nuclear annihilation. Bunkers, survival guides and iodine pills are flying off the shelves.

BAGNOLO SAN VITO, Italy — Across a footbridge from a busy shopping outlet surrounded by verdant fields in northern Italy, workers in a nondescript warehouse are preparing for a nuclear attack, its radioactive fallout and the end of the world as we know it.

“We have found ourselves in the midst of this giant cyclone of demand,” said Giulio Cavicchioli, as he showed off an underground air filtration system that “cleans” radioactive particles, nerve gas and other biological agents and played a video tour of a nuclear shelter that was “ready to use.” His company, Minus Energie, has gone from working on 50 bunkers in the past 22 years to fielding 500 inquiries in the past two weeks.

“It’s a hysteria for construction of bunkers,” he said, driven by the fear of Russian nuclear warheads reaching across Europe. “It’s much scarier now.”

In the days since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched his war on Ukraine, and put his nuclear forces into “special combat readiness,” the intensifying violence and the legacy of two world wars has revived fears in Europe of nuclear calamity for the first time in decades.

Europe has already spent two years on high alert against the pandemic. But now the manifestations of its anxieties and desires for self-defense have shifted from the masks, vaccines and lockdowns of Covid to the bunkers, iodine pills and air raid sirens of nuclear war.

From Italy to Sweden, Belgium to Britain, the specter of nuclear war, which had seemed a relic of the past, is permeating a new generation of European consciousness. And it is prompting a new look at defense infrastructure, survival guides and fallout shelters that not long ago were the purview of camouflage-wearing, assault-weapon-toting survivalists or paranoid billionaires.

“We are extremely concerned by the nuclear safety, security and safeguards risks caused by the Russian invasion on Ukraine,” the European Union said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we’ve all forgotten about it and put it to bed, until, you know, the madman invaded,” said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, the former commander of the United Kingdom’s and NATO’s Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Defense Forces, and now a visiting fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge...