CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR WEDNESDAY: Ban on mainland travel remains troublesome, tourism safety plan OK’d, community meeting to discuss post-virus life

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR WEDNESDAY: Ban on mainland travel remains troublesome, tourism safety plan OK’d, community meeting to discuss post-virus life

Isbjørnars cartoon by Haakon Sandvik from safety tip guide for Longyearbyen Lokalstyre/Sysselmannen. Just days before the June 1 “reopening” of Norway, The Governor of Svalbard has approved the local tourism industry’s safety plan More »

FOR LOCAL SUMMER TRAVELLERS, SVALBARD IS NOT NORWAY: Governor confirms foreign residents are subject to same mainland ban ‘as those residing elsewhere in the world’

FOR LOCAL SUMMER TRAVELLERS, SVALBARD IS NOT NORWAY: Governor confirms foreign residents are subject to same mainland ban ‘as those residing elsewhere in the world’

Foreign residents of Svalbard aren’t being discriminated against – they’re subject to the same coronavirus-related ban on travelling to mainland Norway as all foreigners regardless of what country they live in. That More »

NON-NORWEGIAN RESIDENTS IN SVALBARD CAN’T TRAVEL TO MAINLAND: Norway’s ‘reopening’ on June 1 doesn’t include hundreds of locals; mayor calls rule ‘completely unreasonable’

NON-NORWEGIAN RESIDENTS IN SVALBARD CAN’T TRAVEL TO MAINLAND: Norway’s ‘reopening’ on June 1 doesn’t include hundreds of locals; mayor calls rule ‘completely unreasonable’

It turns out Norway’s “reopening” on June 1 doesn’t apply to all permanent residents, as hundreds in Svalbard will be unable to travel the mainland for non-urgent purposes because they’re not Norwegian More »

NO NON-NORDIC TOURISTS UNTIL 2021? Justice ministry asks Parliament to approve special law allowing border to remain closed to most non-citizens/residents until Jan. 1

NO NON-NORDIC TOURISTS UNTIL 2021? Justice ministry asks Parliament to approve special law allowing border to remain closed to most non-citizens/residents until Jan. 1

While Norway is reopening for domestic tourism on June 1 and may allow people from neighboring countries to visit later during the summer, the justice ministry is asking Parliament to approve a More »

‘ALWAYS POSITIVE TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS ACROSS AGES AND STAGES’: Niva Stiberg-Hansen, 17, lifetime Longyearbyen student, wins this year’s youth cultural stipend

‘ALWAYS POSITIVE TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS ACROSS AGES AND STAGES’: Niva Stiberg-Hansen, 17, lifetime Longyearbyen student, wins this year’s youth cultural stipend

The following is the speech awarding Niva Stiberg-Hansen this year’s youth stipend award, presented by Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen during this year’s May 17 gala at Kulturhuset. This year’s winner is 17 years More »

 

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR WEDNESDAY: Online commenters debate deeply tragic’ local situation, youth fundraising bake sale, library reopening Monday

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This story will be updated throughout the day. Screenshot of online video of field research taking place both in-person and virtually by The University Centre in Svalbard.

The numbers are yet another dire reminder: 500 million kroner in lost tourism business and unemployment 26 times higher than a year ago. But with Svalbard the only place in Norway still under quarantine, folks throughout the country are questioning how much of the “deeply tragic” situation in Longyearbyen is of its own making.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR TUESDAY: More local crisis money; same-but-different official May 17 celebration; ‘alternative’ holiday options; and more

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This story will be updated throughout the day. Photo of Tove Sandblost watching glaciers from the M/S Origo by Anna Lena Ekeblad / True North Arctic Guideservice. 

Longyearbyen got some reason to celebrate with extra COVID-19 crisis funds Tuesday will have more cause to celebrate (albeit COVID-19 style) with an official program for May 17 that resembles the usual traditional events – yet will be different to some extent at nearly all of them.

AN EXTRA 20M KR. IN COVID-19 AID FOR LONGYEARBYEN, 18M KR. FOR NY-ÅLESUND: But local leaders say it’s far short of what Svalbard needs – for economic and sovereignty reasons

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Longyearbyen will get an addition 20 million kroner and Ny-Ålesund 18 million kroner in Norway’s national budget this year to help cope with the impacts of the coronavirus crisis, the Norwegian government announced Tuesday.

ALERT – HIGH-LEVEL AVALANCHE WARNING FOR EAST SVALBARD ON TUES-WED.: Level 4 risk due to heavy snow/wind means all potential danger areas should be avoided, NVE says

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A major spring storm expected to result in up to 17 millimeters of precipitation and near-gale winds on Tuesday and Wednesday means there is a major risk of avalanches in east Svalbard, and all areas where they might be triggered should be avoided, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) declared in a warning Monday.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR MONDAY: ‘Hearts In The Ice’ take on the big city and summer, Svalbard Vet again offers 24/7 emergency help, Trollsteinen ski trip for youths

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Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby are able to watch TV coverage of their cabin adventures during a short stop in Longyearbyen last week. Screenshot from Facebook video by Hearts In The Ice.

Like many others are the world, Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby emerged from a lengthy self-isloation and reacquainted themselves with the once-normal experiences of meeting friends in cafes and preparing for future travels. But unlike the discontent masses who’ve spent a few weeks in their homes, the two woman emerged after nine months in a rustic and remote cabin in Svalbard – and their “travel”is returning there for more months of isolation throughout the summer.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR SAT.-SUN.: ‘Geek of the Week’ joins resupplied MOSAiC expedition, Svalbard ranks 3rd in survey Norwegians summer-travel destinations

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This story will be updated throughout the weekend (most recent: noon Saturday). Screenshot of Liberation Day tribute at Svalbard Church on Friday marking the 75-year anniversary of the end of World War II from video by Svalbard Church, which is hosting an outdoor Mass and indoor family social on Sunday. 

If the words “Embrace solitude. Embrace contemplation” make you think “what a geek,” Maddie Smith’s totally on board with that.

The University of Washington researcher offered that as her “final words of advice for fellow geeks” while spending two weeks in quarantine in Germany before she joins the MOSAiC expedition in the waters and sea ice north of Svalbard, which is taking a break from its year-long research to get new supplies and staff that could not be transported north due to the coronavirus pandemic. She will join a team of researchers focusing on various aspects of Arctic climate change, with her focus on the rapid changes occurring in the vanishing sea ice.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR FRIDAY: Musings about ‘an Arctic prison,’ another round of reopenings and May 17 plans begin – but governor’s ‘trash cruise’ is cancelled

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Few would disagree it’s been a rather trashy year so far thanks to the coronavirus and, despite a large-scale reopening plan that will see many recreational and other activities resume locally in the coming days, the rubbish will keep accumulating in many parts of Svalbard because the usual folks won’t be there to pick it up.

LARGE-SCALE REOPENING PLAN UNVEILED: Recreation groups can resume, quarantine now 10 days and ‘group’ May 17 events OK; but end of foreigner visitor ban unlikely anytime soon

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Sports halls can reopen immediately (but Svalbardhallen won’t until June), quarantines are now 10 days instead of 14 and events on May 17 for groups of up to 50 people are allowed under a large-scale plan unveiled by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Thursday.

The bad news: the ban on international visitors isn’t likely to be lifted any time soon.

AN INFECTIOUS COMMUNITY – FOR BETTER OR WORSE? Line Nagell Ylvisåker seeks answers in new book to dilemma of climate change impacts on her life as a journalist and mother

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For those now sharing woeful tales about self-isolation, Eli Anne Ersdal puts yours to shame. She was lying face down under a crushing blanket of debris-ridden snow, barely able to move and with only a small pocket of air around her head, believing the four family members she was eating breakfast with seconds ago were dead.

This how Line Nagell Ylvisåker, Svalbard’s senior working journalist, chooses to open her new book about a place she finds infectious both in its allure for raising a family and its potential peril due to events such as the avalanche that buried Ersdal that are indicative of a community under multiple rapidly-growing threats due to climate change.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR TUESDAY: Hurtigruten hopes to resume Svalbard cruises in late June/early July, return of large cruise lines unlikely this year

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While local officials have all but written off this summer’s cruise ship season in terms of large ships, Hurtigruten announced it is hoping to resume sailings along the Norwegian coast and to Svalbard in late June or early July.