Top image: Nybyen student housing. Archive photo: Benoit Bizet/UNIS.
Update Friday 11 January 15:00: The Governor of Svalbard has lifted the evacuation of Nybyen as of 15:00 today. The evacuated students will get transportation back to Nybyen in the next hours.
Due to the expected snow storm in the next 24 hours, the Governor of Svalbard has issued an evacuation order for parts of Longyearbyen, including Nybyen, where the majority of UNIS students live. UNIS, together with Samskipnaden, have effectuated the evacuation order and all students in Nybyen will be moved to Sjøskrenten student housing and UNIS Guest House within the next couple of hours.
9 January 2019 17:35
Press release from UNIS
Gale force winds and snow are expected in Longyearbyen from Thursday morning on. This might lead to white-out conditions, construction damage and also trigger avalanches.
The Governor has issued the evacuation order after consulting the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and Skred AS . The evacuation is a preventive measure to ensure the safety of the people in Longyearbyen and is put into effect from 8 AM Thursday morning.
81 students affected
UNIS, together with Samskipnaden who runs the student housing, have already implemented evacuation of all students from Nybyen to the student housing facility Sjøskrenten (across the road from UNIS) and the UNIS Guest House, located 150 meters from UNIS. The evacuation of students will take place Wednesday evening.
There are currently 81 UNIS students living in the student housing facilities in Nybyen. The students will be transported by bus up to Nybyen to gather their personal belongings, before they are transported back to their new, temporary housing.
UNIS chose to evacuate tonight already, despite that the evacuation order will be in effect from tomorrow morning.
– The safety of our students is paramount and fortunately we have other housing facilities to offer those students affected by this evacuation order, says Fred Skancke Hansen, director of HSE and Infrastructure at UNIS.
– We decided to evacuate the students tonight to ensure a smooth operation. The wind will pick up in the early hours of Thursday, so we wanted to effectuate the evacuation tonight while the weather is calm, says Hansen.
UNIS has also cancelled all classes Thursday, as the Governor urges people to stay indoors during the storm.
Fred Skancke Hansen: +47 917 07 640