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World

Still hope for survivors after Norway landslide: rescuers

  • The landslide also left 10 people injured and more than 1,000 people from the municipality of Gjerdrum have been evacuated.
04 Jan 2021

OSLO: Norwegian rescue workers said Monday they were still hoping to find survivors from a landslide that buried homes in a village five days ago, killing at least seven people.

Three people are still missing after the disaster struck the village of Ask about 25 kilometres (15 miles) northeast of Oslo in the early hours of December 30.

"We are still in a rescue operation, which means we believe we can still find survivors," search operation chief Roger Pettersen told reporters.

Nine buildings were swept away by the landslide and rescue workers have so far found the bodies of seven people, including a two-year-old girl and her father, in the tangled mix of debris, earth and snow.

"The cold is of course working against us," the head of the medical team, Halvard Stave, said at a press briefing on Monday.

"As long as there are pockets of air in the land masses where the missing persons may have been, it is possible to survive," Stave added.

The landslide also left 10 people injured and more than 1,000 people from the municipality of Gjerdrum have been evacuated.

After a break overnight to allow conditions for rescue dogs to improve, the search was resumed early Monday.

A visibly moved King Harald visited the site on Sunday,

"I'm having trouble finding something to say, because it's absolutely horrible," he said after the visit. "This terrible event impacts us all. I sympathise with you who are beginning the new year with sadness and uncertainty."

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who went to Ask on Wednesday, said the landslide was "one of the largest" that Norway has ever experienced.

Local residents have left candles near the site of the tragedy

The earth that shifted contains a specific clay called quick clay, present in Norway and Sweden, which can turn to fluid when overstressed.

The likelihood of a similar landslide in the region however remains low, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Water and Energy.

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