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Snow avalanche report is public

Today, on the 15th of December, The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) will hand over its report concerning the hazard of landslides and snow avalanches to Longyearbyen Local Community Council. The report embodies a detailed mapping of the hazards of various types of slides and avalanches in Longyearbyen planning area. The hazard maps show that the upper parts of the developed areas in Lia and Nybyen are situated within the hazard zone of so-called 100-years slides or avalanches.

The maps presented in the report, cover the areas Vestpynten – Bykaia, an area in Todalen and three areas in Bolterdalen-Foxdalen. Studies of geographical and aerial maps, terrain model analyses, climate analyses, previous incidents of landslides and snow avalanches, field inspections and modelling of land slides’ dynamics, form the basis of hazards maps.

The maps in the report show that snow avalanches, slush flows and debris slides and flows pose a threat to the developed areas in question. Altogether 154 apartments/units and 2 guesthouses are situated within the 100-years hazard zone, which implies a yearly risk of landslides and snow avalanches of 1/100.              

-The mapping confirms that parts of the developed areas in Longyearbyen are exposed to a hazard of landslides or snow avalanches. These maps can be used as a basis when planning for measures to prevent slides and avalanches in detail. Local and central authorities must cooperate in this future work, says Community Council Leader Arild Olsen.

- It is important that financing is provided for the planning and implementation of these measures.

This was pointed out by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in its recommendation to the White Paper on Svalbard. It stated that the report from NVE must be followed up by allocated funds in order to implement necessary measures to secure the safety of the inhabitants of Longyearbyen, the Community Council Leader says.

- It is a political goal to implement permanent measures to prevent slides and snow avalanches. But this will take time.  

In the short term, the good snow avalanche alert system that is prepared and implemented by NVE will secure the safety of the population in the best possible way.

- I am glad that the report has been presented, and that it is specific in the analysis and mapping of the areas where there is a risk of various kinds of landslides or snow avalanches. The report constitutes a good tool for Longyearbyen Local Community Council as the planning authority, says the Governor Kjerstin Askholt.

Read the rapport her

The map is her

Contact persons:

Arild Olsen, Community Council leader, phone: 951 77 435

Kjerstin Askholt, Governor, phone: 79 02 43 02