Slide evacuees afraid to move home
September 6, 2010
Several residents of a small community in northern Norway say they’re afraid to return to their homes, after some of their neighbours’ houses were destroyed in a landslide late last week. One man was rescued from an upstairs attic window while his house floated in the Lyngen Fjord.
The residents of Lyngseidet in Troms County, east of Tromsø, were still badly shaken after fleeing their homes over the weekend. Large areas of waterfront property gave way in the sudden mud- and rockslide Friday that destroyed several buildings and vehicles.
The home of Kyrre Lyngdal, for example, was pulled off its foundation and swept into the sea. “First I heard a horrible noise, I thought someone had fired shots, and I ran to the window to look outside,” Lyngdal told newspaper Aftenposten from his hospital bed in Tromsø. “Then the whole house began to shake and I was thrown up against a wall.”
Furniture began sliding as enormous masses of mud carried his house into the sea. “At one point I could walk on the wall, the house was so tilted,” Lyngdal said. Water started pouring in but he finally managed to get an attic window open, and a neighbour picked him up in a boat.
Around 25 nearby homes were evacuated and the local school remained closed on Monday. Many evacuees were told they could return home on Monday, but several told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that they were too scared to do so.
“My children won’t go home,” Rannfrid Myran, a mother of four, told NRK. “They were at home when this happened, many of their friends are also hit by the slide and have lost their home, and they’re frightened.”
They were being offered trauma counseling on Monday and government minister Terje Riis-Johansen was traveling to Lyngen township to see the damage and collect information. His Oil and Energy Ministry is responsible for security against slides in Norway. He could make no immediate promises, though, of emergency funding to shore up the hillsides and rebuild homes.
“I will listen to everything they (residents) have to say,” Riis-Johansen told NRK. “There’s no doubt that Norway has major challenges when it comes to ensuring against slides.”