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Home* News and Stories → Living house in Lon­gye­ar­by­en in dan­ger of col­lap­se: evacua­ti­on

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

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2016-02-24 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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