“There’s an enormous difference between prepping and hoarding,” Anna Wennerström, press spokesperson for the Civil Contingencies Agency, told the TT newswire in an interview published on Sunday. “You have to prep with solidarity”.
She advised people in Sweden to follow the advice in the agency’s leaflet If Crisis or War Comes, and store enough food, water and other essentials to last about a week.
The leaflet, which advises citizens on what to do to prepare for a crisis in or military attack on Sweden, has been downloaded 88,205 times since February 29th. In the same period last year, it was downloaded just 790 times.
At the Biltema hardware superstore in Sisjön, outside Gothenburg, water containers were last week selling out almost as soon as they were delivered.
“We got a big delivery of water containers this morning which normally is enough to last for ten weeks,” the store’s manager Jonas Kjellgren told the Expressen newspaper on Wednesday. “They sold out in six hours.”
He said that camping stoves, wind up radios, charcoal, and portable generators were also seeing “extreme levels of sales”.
“Products are running out as soon as they come in. We have several deliveries on the way in now, but they will probably only be enough for a few days,” he continued. “There are goods in lorries in our central warehouses, but the goods still aren’t able to come in in the amounts we need.”
The XXL sports chain reported a similar leap in sales last week, with sales of camping stoves up by 1,100 percent, freeze-dried food up by 500 percent, sleeping bags up by 300 percent, and head torches up by 250 percent.
At the same time, supermarkets in Sweden say they are witnessing increased sales of dried goods. There is, however, none of the panic-buying seen at the start of the coronavirus crisis in 2020, when many Swedes started hoarding basic materials such as toilet paper.
“There is a tendency to buy dried goods like rice and pasta,” said Martin Ekgrund, the owner of Ica Maxi in Högsbo, outside Gothenburg, who warned against hoarding. “Hoarding isn’t something we advocate. If some customers take too much, others will have to go without.”
Åsa Hagelberg, national coordinator at Sweden’s Civil Defence Association, recommended that every household should keep about 21 litres of water stored per person, based on the average adult needing to drink between two and three litres of water a day.
“We perhaps use 100 to 150 litres a day per person when there’s no crisis, but it’s impossible to store that much,” she said.