Tag Archives: emergency preparedness

CATCHING UP ON COVID-19: Local leaders answer questions about resident/visitor travel, what happens if an outbreak occurs and more during webcast (includes full Q&A)

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Local political and heath officials hosted a digital Q&A meeting about the COVID-19 situation in Svalbardone of the few places in the world with no diagnosed cases, last Thursday.

The 45-minute webcast was shorter than similar meetings this spring when the pandemic was new and all visitor traffic cancelled at the peak of tourism season. But there was a lengthy and dominant focus during the most recent meeting regarding precautions for residents and visitors now allowed to travel here, and how officials will handle an outbreak when the virus reaches Svalbard as many expect is inevitible, especially with a surge of cases in Norway, Europe and elsewhere.

Below is a list of questions and replies by officials representing The Governor of Svalbard, Longyearbyen Community Council and Longyearbyen Hospital submitted before and during the meeting, translated from the Norwegian version posted at the city and governor’s website (some questions are mostly or entirely identical, but the full list is provided).

NORWAY’S 2020 BUDGET UNVEILED: Svalbard gets more for avalanches and research, less for ‘normal’ government stuff

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It might be said Norway’s government is now giving Svalbard lots of change come budget time every year, as next year’s proposed spending plan continues to increase funding for emergency-related expenses such as avalanche protection and large-scale shifts in society such as an emphasis on scientific research.

But the government is being more frugal with everyday expenses, reducing slightly the allocation to Longyearbyen’s municipal government and rejecting upgrade requests such as an energy conservation plan for the town’s mostly coal-fueled power supply.

10TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE SPECIAL: Extra-extra-extra massive amount of random weirdness for the week of March 12, 2019

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Quiz before reading the next sentence: What worst-case local police emergency explains the “hot” vehicle in this picture?

‘A danger the boat will go down if it is pulled off the ground’: Removing trawler from north Svalbard will be long and difficult

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Removing a damaged fishing vessel stuck on an icy shore in north Svalbard will not be easy or quick – and the boat’s owner may have to shoulder most of the effort and cost due to limited government capabilities – but there appears to be no immediate environmental danger due to the slow progress, according to officials.