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Daily Archives: 24. February 2016 − News & Stories


Living house in Lon­gye­ar­by­en in dan­ger of col­lap­se: evacua­ti­on

Lon­gye­ar­by­en is curr­ent­ly having tough times, espe­ci­al­ly if you hap­pen to live in the wrong house: after the cata­stro­phic des­truc­tion of 11 hou­ses and the loss of two lives during an ava­lan­che befo­re Christ­mas, the old hos­pi­tal had to be evacua­ted very quick­ly last week. The old hos­pi­tal (gam­le syke­hu­set) is near the Spits­ber­gen-Hotel (form­er­ly Hotel Fun­ken) upval­ley from the cent­re. It was built in 1954 and con­ver­ted to a living house with 16 flats in 1997.

More recent­ly, the buil­ding had shown signs of move­ment such as minor cracks in walls and shif­ting angles – not­hing that cau­sed any grea­ter con­cern, but it caught enough atten­ti­on to ask for the report of a civil engi­neer. The result came Thurs­day last week and it hit the inha­bi­tants like a ham­mer: at 4 p.m. peo­p­le were told that they had to lea­ve their homes until 10 p.m. the same day. Any­thing they were unable to remo­ve from their homes would be out of reach for some time, as it was not allo­wed to enter the buil­ding at all from then on, initi­al­ly.

Curr­ent­ly, the inha­bi­tants get per­mis­si­on to enter their homes under rest­ric­tions to retrie­ve their belon­gings as much as pos­si­ble. Some have alre­a­dy offe­red their belon­gings for sale or even for free to anyo­ne who is able to pick it up.

The buil­ding is in dan­ger of col­laps, but when this may or may not hap­pen is not known. It may col­lap­se today or stand for ano­ther year or more. But it is not expec­ted that peo­p­le will be able to move back.

For the inha­bi­tants, who are most­ly the owners of their homes, this came as a total shock and, in some cases, it is likely to be a com­ple­te eco­no­mic­al dis­as­ter.

The local admi­nis­tra­ti­on (lokals­ty­re) has offe­red tem­po­ra­ry accom­mo­da­ti­on to tho­se con­cer­ned, but only for a cou­ple of weeks. Not a lot of time for every for ever­y­bo­dy to find new homes.

The old hos­pi­tal (gam­le syke­hu­set) lies within a cal­mer dwel­ling area a bit away from down­town Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Curr­ent­ly, it is not quite as calm the­re: the inha­bi­tants were evacua­ted on very short noti­ce last week.

The old hospital (gamle sykehuset) in Longyearbyen

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