Friday, March 5, 2021

Landslide buries houses, leaving 11 missing in Norway

The ground is still so unstable that only rescues by helicopter can be carried out.

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A landslide in a Norwegian village has buried homes under mud, leaving 11 missing.

Police said people are feared trapped in the mud and wreckage, reports the BBC.

About 900 people have so far been evacuated from the area and rescue workers are searching for the missing, who include children, in the village of Gjerdrum, 25km north-east of the capital, Oslo.

“We are quite certain that there are people in the affected area, but we don’t know if all 11 are there,” police spokesman Roger Pettersen told reporters.

The landslide began during the early hours of Wednesday. Residents began calling emergency services, telling them that their houses were moving, police said.

On Wednesday afternoon more houses collapsed into the crater formed by the landslide, while others remained perched precariously on the edge.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the ground is still so unstable that only rescues by helicopter can be carried out.

“There were two massive tremors that lasted for a long while and I assumed it was snow being cleared or something like that,” Oeystein Gjerdrum, 68, told broadcaster NRK.

Large quantities of earth were continuing to move, Toril Hofshagen, the regional head of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), told reporters.

The local municipality warned that up to 1,500 people could need to leave the region because of concerns about the safety of the ground.

An NVE spokesman told AFP, “This is the largest landslide in recent times in Norway.”

Broadcaster NRK said heavy rainfall may have made the soil unstable.

Norway’s King Harald, 83, said, “My thoughts are with everyone affected, the injured, those who lost their homes and are now living in fear and uncertainty of the full extent of the disaster.”

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