Gjerdrum landslide update: 700 people evacuated, 21 still not accounted for, disaster relief continues in the dark

Rescue helicopter nightPhoto: Terje Bendiksby / NTB

The rescue crews still don’t know where 21 people are after the landslide in Gjerdrum. After intense hours during the daylight, work continues in the dark.

According to the police, at least 14 homes are located in the hardest-hit area after the landslide, which is 700 meters long and 10-20 meters wide. 

The police think there may be people there, but the rescue crews can only reach the area from the air.

Several people have been hoisted up to helicopters from the landslide during the day, but 21 people were still unaccounted for while it was getting dark. 

Thus, the work continues in the dark.

Pictures from the site show several houses lying in a large crater that the landslide created. Several homes are close to the crater’s edge.

“We have reason to believe that there are people in the landslide area,” operations manager Roger Pettersen in the police said.

700 people evacuated

It was only when daylight came on Wednesday morning that the disaster’s full extent began to become apparent to the rescue crews.

“Those who worked here last night were overwhelmed when they saw the scene after daylight appeared,” Pettersen said.

The police sent out their first report of the landslide at 5:18 AM. All emergency services are present in the area. 

Help has been called in from the Armed Forces, the Home Guard, the Civil Defense, and voluntary organizations.

A total of 700 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area, including a nursing home with corona outbreaks, making the effort extra demanding.

Ten people injured

A total of ten people have been transported to the hospital and emergency room after the landslide, but none of them are seriously injured.

Several people have been lifted from the landslide with the help of a helicopter.

“We have four patients transported to Ahus who are slightly injured. Then we have five patients who have been taken to the emergency room. A patient has been transported to Ullevål with some breathing problems, but the person is fine now.”

Sweden offers help

Swedish authorities have offered help after the landslide, but so far, there has been no need for it, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) said. 

Solberg visited the area on Wednesday afternoon together with Minister of Justice Monica Mæland (H).

The police reported chaotic conditions in the first hours after the incident. Several of the emergency messages have been very dramatic.

Norway’s foremost experts have been working for several hours to get an overview of the landslide, the extent, and the risk in Gjerdrum.

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) sent geologists to the site on Wednesday night to assist the police. 

Regional manager Toril Hofshagen at NVE says that the landslide is still ongoing and that there is a danger that more houses may collapse.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


1 Comment on "Gjerdrum landslide update: 700 people evacuated, 21 still not accounted for, disaster relief continues in the dark"

  1. Stefaos Temolso | 30. December 2020 at 19:25 | Reply

    A really bad event on the eve of the New Year. I feel very sad for the victims of the catastrophe in Gjerdrum Kommune. It is very unfortunate that this happens just before New Year. I wish all the survivors a Happy New Year.

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