Disasters & Accidents

Search for survivors in Norway landslide continues as 5 confirmed dead

Copenhagen, Jan 3 (efe-epa).- Two more bodies were found overnight at a housing complex in Ask, southern Norway, that was buried by a landslide, bringing the death toll to five, while another five people were still missing, Norwegian authorities said Sunday.

“We are still looking where we think we can find survivors, this is still a rescue action,” Kenneth Wangen, head of the rescue and emergency operations team told a press conference.

Police have so far confirmed the identity of only one of the five bodies, a 31-year-old male. Two children are known to be among the 10 people who were reported missing on Thursday.

Five rescue teams are intensifying operations on the ground. Only helicopters and drones were used in the first two days for security reasons.

Since the landslide struck on Wednesday night, more than a thousand people have been evacuated from a residential area of that town in the municipality of Gjerdrum, 50 kilometers south of Oslo, after a mass of clayey soil (700 meters long and 300 meters wide) swept away about 10 buildings.

Ten people received hospital care for minor injuries caused by the landslide.

The local church has kept its doors open to people seeking shelter, while the municipal authorities have set up a crisis center and evacuees have been accommodated in hotels in the area.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg visited the area on the day of the incident and King Harald, Queen Sonia and Crown Prince Haakon will travel to Gjerdrum on Sunday.

Norwegian media reported that several geologists and hydrologists warned municipal authorities in 2008 of “significant erosion problems” in the area where the housing block that has been buried by the landslide was built. EFE-EPA


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