Evacuation of Nybyen student housing

Evacuation of Nybyen student housing

Top image: Screenshot of Longyearbyen today at 10:30. Image: http://longyearbyen.kystnor.no/

Due to the expected rain storm in the next 24 hours, the Governor of Svalbard has issued an evacuation order for parts of the Longyearbyen area, including Nybyen, where the majority of UNIS students live. UNIS together with Samskipnaden have implemented the evacuation of all students from Nybyen to the new student housing facility Sjøskrenten and the UNIS Guest House. The evacuation will take place within the next two hours.

7 November 2016 12:30
Press release from UNIS

Heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected in Svalbard from Monday afternoon till Tuesday morning. This might trigger landslides in steep terrain, such as the mountain sides in Longyearbyen.

The situation is closely monitored by the Governor of Svalbard and the Longyearbyen Community Council. The issue of evacuation has been decided on in consultation with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The evacuation is a preventive measure to ensure the safety of all people in Longyearbyen and there is currently no immediate threat of landslides or flooding.

Safe area
UNIS, together with the Arctic Student Welfare Organization who runs the student housing, have implemented evacuation of all students from Nybyen to the new student housing facility Sjøskrenten (across the road from UNIS) and the UNIS Guest House, located 150 meters from UNIS. The evacuation will take place within the next two hours. The area around UNIS, including Sjøskrenten and UNIS Guest House, is considered a safe area by the authorities.

There are currently 86 UNIS students living in the student housing facilities in Nybyen. The students currently in the UNIS building will be transported by bus up to Nybyen and will have an hour to gather their personal belongings, before they are transported back to UNIS to get a new room at either Sjøskrenten or at UNIS Guest House.

– The safety of our students is paramount and fortunately we have other housing facilities to offer those students affected by this evacuation order from the Governor of Svalbard, says UNIS director Harald Ellingsen.

UNIS has also stopped all fieldwork Monday and Tuesday due to the weather.

– We will take every precaution to ensure the safety of our staff and students, and have therefore stopped all field activity as long as the weather determines, says Fred Skancke Hansen, director of HSE and Infrastructure at UNIS.

How long the evacuation order will be in place is uncertain, but Hansen says the students will be in safe housing until the authorities has ended the evacuation.

Weather forecast:
http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Svalbard/Longyearbyen/

Media contact:
Fred Skancke Hansen: +47 917 07 640

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