Army bases riddled with safety hazards

Safety experts have found thousands of electrical and structural problems at army bases that will cost 71 million euros to put right, the government said yesterday. Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos said inspections at 632 camps had revealed that there were 19,097 sources of danger for soldiers. He said the bulk of these were structural faults and cited the placing of a lightning conductor inside a flagpole at an unnamed camp as an example of safety lapses that needed to be fixed. Almost 2,000 of the problems are related to electrical snags. Five conscripts were electrocuted in April 2004 at a military outpost in Evros while hoisting a metal flagpole that became caught in an overhead electricity line. The government has spent 19 million euros on fixing the problems this year and will spend the same amount next year, the minister said.