STORM UPDATE: Evacuations to continue indefinitely, but hillside study and status update coming this evening

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Workers put up barricades at the entry road to an apartment complex declared unsafe Tuesday due to cracks in the mountain above them. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

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The evacuations that have displaced 259 people will continue indefinitely, but officials are scheduled to do further analysis of the hillsides surrounding Longyearbyen and issue a status update after meeting at 5:30 p.m., according to The Governor of Svalbard.

Those in emergency city housing should wait until an updated status report is issued (probably around 6:30 p.m.) before seeking to extend their stay, according an official at the emergency evacuation center at Kulturhuset. According to her, the center will remain open as long as evacuations are in effect.

A helicopter survey of the hillsides was conducted at midday Wednesday, followed by a meeting with city officials and experts with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, a statement from the governor’s office notes. Although the rain that resulted in the evacuations due to the risk of landslides has all but stopped, temperatures remain above freezing and hillsides therefore remain potentially unstable.

Most of the evacuations occurred Monday afternoon before a storm dumped a near-record amount of rain on Longyearbyen overnight. About a dozen more apartments on Vei 232 were evacuated late Tuesday afternoon when cracks were discovered in the hillsides above.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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