Avalanche accident in Longyearbyen

Avalanche accident in Longyearbyen

Top image: Longyearbyen pictured in late January. Photo: Jan Otto Larsen/UNIS

Longyearbyen was hit by an avalanche in the morning of Saturday 19 December 2015. Two people lost their lives, and a number of people lost their homes or have been evacuated from their homes.

22 December 2015

Almost all students had left for Christmas holiday when the accident happened, and were not directly affected. Two UNIS employees and the family of one of them were caught in the avalanche, but they were rescued quickly and suffered only minor injuries. Many of the UNIS staff played an active role in the search and rescue phase and in the work that has come after the initial phase.

Our main focus now is to take care of employees who have been affected and to help in the joint effort to house everyone in safe locations. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families and friends of the victims.

The Norwegian authorities take the safety of all inhabitants in Longyearbyen very seriously, and will not open areas in town which are unsafe. The University Centre also has safety as our highest priority during all activity and fieldwork.

If any current or future students – or your families – should have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us: By e-mail: study@unis.no or by phone: +47 926 35 651 (Ane H. Bjørsvik, head of the Academic Affairs department).

Wishing all of you a peaceful holiday. To all new students: Welcome to the semester opening 11 January 2016!

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