Nearly 5,000 new emergency bomb shelters will be built in Moscow by 2012 to save people in case of potential attacks.
Moscow authorities say the measure is urgent as the shelters currently available in the city can house no more that half of its population.
In the last 20 years, the area of air-raid defense has been developed little, and the existing shelters have become outdated. Moreover, they are located mostly in the city center, which makes densely populated Moscow outskirts especially vulnerable in the event of a nuclear attack.
In order to resolve the issue, the city has given architects a task to construct a typical model of an easy-to-build shelter that will be located all over the city 10 to 15 meters underneath apartment blocks, shopping centers, sport complexes and parks, as in case of attack people will need to reach the shelters within a minute.
Moscow saw its first mass building of shelters in the 1930s, after which 7,000 of them were constructed. Some of Russia’s metro stations have been built very deep underground so that they could double as air raid shelters.
However, in the early 1990s, many shelters were privatized by commercial firms that used them as warehouses, parking lots, and even restaurants.