10 hurt, 21 missing in Norway landslide

A helicopter view of the site of the landslide, showing a large crater with destroyed buildings at the bottom of it, in the municipality of Gjerdrum, Norway, yesterday. About 700 people have been evacuated from the area. PHOTO: REUTERS
A helicopter view of the site of the landslide, showing a large crater with destroyed buildings at the bottom of it, in the municipality of Gjerdrum, Norway, yesterday. About 700 people have been evacuated from the area. PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO • Ten people were injured, one of them critically, and 21 others remained unaccounted for after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings in the early hours of yesterday, police said.

The landslide struck a residential area in the municipality of Gjerdrum, some 30km north of the capital Oslo.

Photographs of the site showed a large crater with destroyed buildings at the bottom of it. Other buildings hung on the edges of the crater.

Helicopters hovered over the area, at times lowering emergency responders towards the debris of collapsed houses, TV footage showed.

About 700 people have been evacuated from the area so far, the police said.

"There were two massive tremors that lasted for a long while and I assumed it was snow being cleared or something like that," 68-year-old Oeystein Gjerdrum told broadcaster NRK.

"Then the power suddenly went out, and a neighbour came to the door and said we needed to evacuate, so I woke up my three grandchildren and told them to get dressed quickly."

The missing people were from homes in the innermost area of the landslide but it was not immediately clear whether they had been trapped in their houses, were away at the time or had managed to escape, the police said.

"There are many who are still unaccounted for. This is a big catastrophe," Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters during a visit to the site.

The area remains unstable for now and can be accessed only by helicopter, said Mr Roger Pettersen, head of the police operation at the site.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2020, with the headline 10 hurt, 21 missing in Norway landslide. Subscribe