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Monthly Archives: March 2021 − News & Stories


Avalan­che risk: parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en evacua­ted

The wea­ther fore­cast pre­dicts strong sou­the­as­ter­ly winds, remi­nis­cent of the situa­ti­on just befo­re and during the fatal avalan­che in Decem­ber 2015 during which 2 peop­le died in their homes.

Avalanche risk: evacuations in Longyearbyen

The red zone near Lia, the part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en next to the moun­tain Suk­ker­top­pen, may not be ent­e­red until from Satur­day 8 a.m. until fur­ther noti­ce from offi­cial side. The buil­dings shown in the red area were des­troy­ed by the cata­stro­phic 2015 avalan­che.
Map © Nor­sk Polar­in­sti­tutt / Sys­sel­man­nen på Sval­bard.

The Sys­sel­man­nen has reac­ted and evacua­ted parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en that may be at risk. This con­cerns a cou­p­le of houses in Nyby­en on the east side of the road, near the slo­pe of the moun­tain, and the lower slo­pes of Suk­ker­top­pen next to Lia (the part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en that has the lovely old woo­den buil­dings with pit­ched roofs). This is whe­re houses were des­troy­ed during the avalan­che a few days befo­re Christ­mas 2015.

The are­as con­cer­ned must be evacua­ted until Satur­day morning 08:00 and they may not be ent­e­red until fur­ther noti­ce by the Sys­sel­man­nen. Peop­le can not arran­ge pri­va­te accom­mo­da­ti­on can con­ta­ct the local admi­nis­tra­ti­on. The­re are fewer locals, tou­rists and stu­dents in Lon­gye­ar­by­en now than in nor­mal times due to the coro­na cri­sis, so accom­mo­da­ti­on should gene­ral­ly be avail­ab­le.

Avalanche risk: evacuations in Longyearbyen

The red zone in and near Nyby­en in upper Lon­gye­ar­by­en is off limits as of Satur­day 8 a.m. and until fur­ther noti­ce from the Sys­sel­man­nen.
Map © Nor­sk Polar­in­sti­tutt / Sys­sel­man­nen på Sval­bard.

The Sys­sel­man­nen reminds ever­y­bo­dy that the­re is a high avalan­che risk in the field. The Nor­we­gi­an avalan­che warning web­site Varsom.no cur­r­ent­ly indi­ca­tes risk level 3 (oran­ge) for Nor­dens­kiöld Land.

Sval­bard soon vac­ci­na­ted

The Nor­we­gi­an government has announ­ced to give Sval­bard prio­ri­ty in the natio­nal Covid 19 vac­ci­na­ti­on pro­gram­me. The main rea­son is that a local out­break would quick­ly put the emer­gen­cy ser­vices under high pres­su­re becau­se of the distance to the main­land of Nor­way. The local hos­pi­tal does only pro­vi­de basic medi­cal ser­vices, and Covid-19 pati­ents would have to be flown out to Trom­sø.

Corona-crisis: Longyearbyen will be vaccinated soon

Lon­gye­ar­by­en hos­pi­tal would not be able to hand­le a coro­na out­break, so the remo­te com­mu­ni­ty will soon be vac­ci­na­ted.

The idea is to vac­ci­na­te ever­y­bo­dy who is 45 or older as soon as pos­si­ble. This is announ­ced to start now in March. Until now, only elder­ly peop­le have been vac­ci­na­ted, accord­ing to Norway’s nati­on­wi­de vac­ci­na­ti­on prio­ri­ty plan.

The Arc­tic Wed­nes­day: second run!

For all rea­ders who under­stand some Ger­man: Bir­git Lutz and I will con­ti­nue our suc­cess­ful online seri­es of arc­tic pre­sen­ta­ti­ons “The arc­tic Wed­nes­day”, star­ting on 17 March.

Der arktische Mittwoch: 6 arktische Themenvorträge mit Rolf Stange und Birgit Lutz

The arc­tic Wed­nes­day: 6 arc­tic online pre­sen­ta­ti­ons.

Plea­se refer to the Ger­man ver­si­on of this arti­cle by cli­cking here or on the lan­guage icon on top of this page for more details 🙂

Return of the sun cele­bra­ted in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The return of the sun to Lon­gye­ar­by­en, sol­fest in Nor­we­gi­an, is tra­di­tio­nal­ly cele­bra­ted on 08 March, the day when the sun is direct­ly visi­ble from town after several mon­ths of polar night. This is the case at the stair­ca­se of the old hos­pi­tal, which does not exist any­mo­re (but a repli­ca of the stairs is the­re), near the church.

Usual­ly, the sol­fest comes with a who­le seri­es of cul­tu­ral events over several days, the sun cele­bra­ti­on week (sol­fest­u­ke). The cul­tu­ral part suf­fe­red obvious­ly hea­vi­ly from coro­na restric­tions.

Sun festival 2021, Longyearbyen

Sun fes­ti­val 2021, on 8 March in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Pho­to © Max Schwei­ger.

Max Schwei­ger is in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and kind­ly pro­vi­ded a cou­p­le of pho­tos of today’s cele­bra­ti­on.

The sun is actual­ly visi­ble from lower Lon­gye­ar­by­en, near the shore of Advent­fjord, but this part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, now known as Sjøs­kren­ten, did not exist when the tra­di­ti­on of the sun cele­bra­ti­on was star­ted.

Every year, a new emblem is made the sun fes­ti­val. It is cho­sen from drawings made in Longyearbyen’s kin­der­gar­tens. This year’s selec­tion is clear­ly very appro­pria­te!

Sun festival 2021 in Longyearbyen

This year’s emblem for the sun fes­ti­val. Pho­to © Max Schwei­ger.

With the sun cele­bra­ti­on, the long polar night is “offi­cial­ly” over in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The late win­ter with a lot of light is now the­re, fol­lo­wed by a short spring and then the sum­mer with the mid­ni­ght sun. A lot of light that fol­lows on a long, dark peri­od. May this very soon be the case also for the rest of the world!

Polar bear shot in Mohn­buk­ta, man inju­red

A man was inju­red and a polar bear shot and kil­led ear­lier today in Mohn­buk­ta on the east coast of Spits­ber­gen, accord­ing to the Sys­sel­man­nen.

To per­sons were on the fast ice in Mohn­buk­ta with snow mobi­les. Both were employees in the film pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny Jason Roberts Pro­duc­tions and on the ice to mea­su­re the thic­kness. As far as cur­r­ent­ly known, the men were not awa­re of the pre­sence of the bear until it atta­cked from behind. One man recei­ved inju­ries during the attack, the other one shot the bear.

Polar bear shot in Mohnbukta, Spitsbergen

Polar bear on the ice in Mohn­buk­ta (archi­ve image).

The Sys­sel­man­nen arri­ved soon on site by heli­co­p­ter with poli­ce and res­cue for­ces. The infu­red man was soon deli­ve­r­ed to the hos­pi­tal in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. His inju­ries are said to be minor.

Both per­sons appe­ar to be expe­ri­en­ced locals. The case is under inves­ti­ga­ti­on by the Sys­sel­man­nen. Polar bears are pro­tec­ted in Spits­ber­gen.

Nor­we­gi­an coal mining in Spits­ber­gen to end in 2028

Coal is an ener­gy car­ri­er source of the past. This is also the case in Spits­ber­gen, whe­re the power sup­ply of most of the few remai­ning sett­le­ments is till based on coal. Work has been going on for more than just a while in Lon­gye­ar­by­en to replace today’s coal power plant with a more modern, more envi­ron­ment­al­ly friend­ly and more reli­able ener­gy sup­ply. The ques­ti­on as to which ener­gy source will be used, or which com­bi­na­ti­on of various ener­gy sources, remains yet to be ans­we­red, several opti­ons are still deba­ted. But the aim is to have a new ener­gy sup­ply up and run­ning wit­hin 5 years.

Expec­ting that the new solu­ti­on will not invol­ve coal, the Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni has deci­ded to put an end to coal mining in mine 7, the last Nor­we­gi­an coal mine in Spits­ber­gen that is still pro­du­cing coal, when the coal power plant is histo­ry, accord­ing to Sval­bard­pos­ten. Hence, mining is expec­te to cea­se in mine 7 in 2028. Store Nor­ske then expects to use 2 years for a major clean-up.

Mine 7: end of coal mining in Spitsbergen in 2028

Mine 7 near Lon­gye­ar­by­en: end of Nor­we­gi­an coal mining in Spits­ber­gen expec­ted in 2028.

Store Nor­ske expects growth and new jobs in busi­ness are­as such as new solu­ti­ons of ener­gy sup­ply, logistics, pro­per­ty and housing.

Sveagru­va, for deca­des Norway’s lar­gest coal mining sett­le­ment in Spits­ber­gen, is alrea­dy in an advan­ced sta­ge of a major clean-up pro­cess. The Rus­si­an in Bar­ents­burg may, for some time, be the only ones who run an acti­ve coal mine in Spits­ber­gen, but also here – coal mining won’t last fore­ver. The end of coal pro­duc­tion in Bar­ents­burg has been fore­cas­ted alrea­dy more than once, with mining com­ing to an end in years that are now alrea­dy histo­ry. But it appears fair to assu­me that Rus­si­an coal mining won’t con­ti­nue much bey­ond 2030, if at all.

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News-Listing live generated at 2021/August/02 at 02:26:34 Uhr (GMT+1)
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