EVACUATION LIFTED: Residents of Vei 228 allowed to return three days after displacement

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Residents of about a dozen homes along Vei 228 were allowed to return to them Sunday following a three-day evacuation due to avalanche concerns, but they probably shouldn’t count on settling in undisturbed for the rest of the winter.

The decision to lift the order was made following an 11 a.m. meeting with avalanche risk experts from The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, which provided avalanche risk assessments, Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said in a prepared statement.

“The decision to terminate the evacuation, and the ban on traversing to and occupying residences at Vei 228 is based on the weather forecasts and the snow-related assessments from the NVE,” she said.

The affected addresses are Vei 228-2, 228-4 A, B, C, D, 228-7, 228-9, 228-11, and 228-13 A, B, C, D, E.

The residents of those apartments, plus those closest to Sukkertoppen on Vei 222 and Vei 226, were ordered to evacuate their homes within an hour early Thursday evening due to heavy snow Wednesday night and Thursday. For those living on the latter two streets, the order is in effect throughout the winter.

“They are in the area where there will be permanent restraints until the snow is gone in the spring,” Askholt said. “That is in line with the decisions we have made for this area earlier.”

Similar long-term evacuations were enacted the past two years. The homes on Vei 228 evacuated this week were not part of the long-term ban, but they are considered in an at-risk zone and two apartment buildings closer to the mountain that served as de facto barricades were destroyed in an avalanche in February of 2017.

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