Tag Archives: Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate

Guess who’s in the house? Workers aren’t sure where they can live after latest avalanches redefines ‘community in transition’

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Eighteen months ago there were scary headlines about Longyearbyen losing 30 percent of its population and panicky questions about who would fill all those empty homes where laid off coal miners recently lived.

Now the panic is how to squeeze a non-declining population into a suddenly alarming shortage of housing being sold and rented at skyrocketing prices.

AVALANCHE UPDATE: NVE experts conducting snow checks throughout Wednesday; public update meeting at 8 p.m.

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Update (2:34 p.m.): Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt said NVE experts are expected to conduct their snow assessment work until 6 p.m., after which the local emergency council will meet to determine if the evacuation order will be extended. She said it is possible the decision will be announced before the 8 p.m. public meeting at Kulturhuset.

Original story: Avalanche experts with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) began assessing the snowpack on Sukkertoppen by helicopter and foot at midday Wednesday to determine the risk of further avalanches after the one that destroyed two apartment buildings Tuesday morning. A public meeting to update the situation is scheduled at 8 p.m. at Kulturhuset.

WARNING SIGNS: Another major avalanche shatters people’s faith in official alert system as well as homes

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Exasperating as the multiple widespread evacuations were, there was a general level of support and understanding for the “better safe than sorry” policy of local leaders. Now that’s been shaken up as much as residents’ nerves were following an avalanche 18 months ago that started it all.

Building the walls: Avalanche-protection barriers in Longyearbyen could cost 79M to 180M kroner, NVE reports

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Installing protective barriers in areas of Longyearbyen considered at risk of avalanches could cost 79 million to 180 million kroner, depending on the extent and level of protection, according to a report presented to city officials Tuesday.

Stay or move? Gjestehuset 102 manager not afraid being in avalanche zone; UNIS says it will abandon Nybyen dorms

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Karl-Eric Melander isn’t worried about living in an avalanche “red zone,” but is concerned about the possibility he and the guests at his hostel will be forced to evacuate it every time there’s a severe storm.

BREAKING: NVE report declares more than 150 residences and dorms in Lia and Nybyen are in avalanche danger zones

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More than 150 residences and dorms closest to the mountains in Lia and Nybyen have been declared avalanche danger zones in a study released Thursday by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. But while the report is intended to help Longyearbyen officials with land management and preventative measures, a directorate official said a recently activated warning system is an adequate short-term solution.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Nov. 13, 2016

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Avalanche risk report to be unveiled Thursday at UNIS
A long-awaited report assessing the landslide and avalanche dangers in Longyearbyen is scheduled to be presented at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at The University Centre in Svalbard.

New abnormal: How often will we have to evacuate homes this winter due to extreme storms? And for good later?

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We may be in for a winter of discontent, but that’s far preferable to another time of tragedy.

Hundreds of Longyearbyen residents were forced to evacuate their homes for the second time in less than a year earlier this month due to extreme weather and officials said it’s entirely possible more will occur in the near future. What nobody can realistically predict, of course, is just how often.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 9, 2016

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NVE: ‘We did not abandon Longyearbyen’ before Dec. 19 avalanche
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), which was given the responsibility for avalanche prevention in Longyearbyen in 2013, is denying it failed to take sufficient action to minimize the impact of a massive avalanche last Dec. 19.

Is someone to blame? Little action taken despite more than 20 years of avalanche risk warnings; many asking why

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The catastrophe occurred within seconds. But there was at least 23 years to heed warnings and take actions that might have prevented it.

As the immediate shock and living rearrangements from the Dec. 19 avalanche pass, local leaders and others are asking if someone is to blame. A series of reports since 1992 has highlighted settled areas of Longyearbyen that are at risk of avalanches – including Sukkertoppen, where December’s deadly slide occurred.