Thousands Evacuated In Norway Amid Dangerous Floods

( – A dam on Norway’s biggest river partly collapsed last Wednesday due to heavy rains from Storm Hans, sending water gushing through a gap in the structure, Reuters reported. Storm Hans battered northern Europe on Monday and Tuesday, causing significant flooding, power cuts, and transportation disruptions throughout the Baltic and Nordic regions. Southeastern Norway was hardest hit due to Wednesday’s collapse at the Braskereidfoss hydroelectric dam on the Glåma River, the country’s longest waterway.

More than three thousand had to be evacuated as rivers in Norway swelled to their highest level in at least 50 years, leaving homes and businesses underwater or destroyed by landslides. Throughout wide sections of southern Norway, main roads were shut down and rail service was suspended as water breached the banks of rivers.

In a press conference last week, Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said authorities were “mobilizing around the clock.” Additional flooding was expected for the remainder of the week, despite dryer weather, and on Friday authorities were evaluating whether to evacuate even more residents in southeastern Norway, according to the Associated Press.

The town of Hoenefossen was most affected by last week’s flooding after the Benga River overflowed the banks, leaving authorities considering evacuating more residents downstream in case of landslides. Magnus Niholm, Hoenefossen’s emergency manager told Norway’s NRK that they were trying to “think a few steps ahead.”

According to Ivar Berthling from the Water Resources and Energy Directorate, the water levels around Hoenefossen were expected to continue rising until at least Monday. While visiting one of the affected areas last Friday, Prime Minister Gahr Støre acknowledged that the evacuations were difficult for residents, particularly the children. Norwegian authorities have not provided a complete count of those evacuated nationwide. However, based on rough estimates, the damage from flooding and landslides could come to 1 billion kroner (or almost $100 million US).

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