31 December 2020
An update on the Gjerdrum landslide in Norway
Posted by Dave Petley
An update on the Gjerdrum landslide in Norway
Overnight, the emergency operations at the site of the Gjerdrum landslide in Norway have continued. The number of people unaccounted for has reduced to ten now, but I note a change in the tone of the reporting within Norway, with an increased emphasis on this event being a tragedy. The likelihood that the missing people are away from the site and out of contact is reducing, but hopefully it is not yet zero. Unfortunately, the Norwegian police have said that they are reasonably sure that there are people in the landslide area. The weather (in particular the cold, but also the snowy conditions) and the instability of the site are hindering the rescue effort.
The latest update on the Gjerdrum landslide is in a new post
A total of eight additional homes have now collapsed into the landslide, illustrating the continued instability of the area. Some of the buildings were multiple occupation units; in total it is reported that 31 homes have been lost. About 1,000 people have now been evacuated.
An impression of the scale of this landslide can be gained from this image, posted by VG:-
During the night, a dog and handler were lowered onto the landslide site from a Sea King helicopter. This was an extremely brave act, intended to search the partially collapsed houses that might have a space in which someone had survived. Unfortunately the search proved to be fruitless.
The one bright spot is that a dog, a dalmatian named Zajka, was rescued yesterday. This dog belongs to a family that successfully evacuated the site. The dog is injured but is expected to survive, and will be reunited with its family.
Support at the site is being provided by NVE, who have a statement online about the landslide, and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). The combined knowledge of these two organisations is tremendous. We can be confident that the operations are in the best possible hands.
There is a map online now showing the approximate extent of the landslide itself:-
I will try to provide updates today as they become available. In the meantime, many thanks to all those who have commented and helped. As usual, these events are best understood as a collective effort.
Update – 31 December 17:00 UT
The headline is that 10 people remain missing; it seems increasingly likely that they were present when the landslide occurred. A search team, including a dog, was airlifted onto the landslide this afternoon, but were unable to recover any survivors or locate any victims. The police are using mobile phone tracking, as well as drones, to try to locate those who are missing.
Meanwhile, new ground cracks have developed away from the existing landslide. As a result 46 more people have been evacuated, a road has been closed and the slope is being monitored.
The identities of those missing have not been formally released, but Norwegian media have speculated that it includes a three person family including a small child; a teenage girl and one of her parents; and a woman in her 50s and her son in his 20s.
Dave, here is a link to the Rissa, Norway documentary you might want to post it as it is very informative. Also funny in the way things were produced way back when. Happy New Year!!!
Sorry Dave here is the link
Thanks for the excellent and detailed updates, please continue with them, and any post-disaster analysis once the whole incident is studied and evaluated. Very much appreciated.
It’s on Dave’s blog already:
“Meanwhile, new ground cracks have developed away from the existing landslide. As a result 46 more people have been evacuated, a road has been closed and the slope is being monitored.”
Looking at the sheer vertical drop at the sides of this new “valley” it’s obvious that a much larger area will be affected, perhaps all of the structures we see in the videos and photos will have to be abandoned. It may not even be safe to demolish them during dry conditions, it could become a “ghost village” slowly being reclaimed by nature. Happy New Year!
They are going have to look at the whole area with geological engineers to asess how much additional land space is unsafe and to be evacuated. It will probably come to quite a bit, considering the increased rainfall that will happen in light of global warming. You can see the new effects all around that area. Sinkholes etcetera in Russia and permafrost areas. This will be a major social tragedy for the village, as people will have to live somewhere else. That whole new-ish apartment building area is at risk.