WATCH | Norway dam breached after heavy rains

  • Norwegian authorities said on Wednesday they had evacuated thousands of people following flooding.
  • Parts of a dam breached after its floodgates failed to open.
  • The government announced it had deployed helicopters to help the emergency services assist people cut off by the flooding.

Norwegian authorities said on Wednesday they had evacuated thousands of people following flooding, as parts of a dam breached after its floodgates failed to open.

The government announced it had deployed helicopters to help the emergency services assist people cut off by the flooding in some parts of the country.

Norway’s armed forces had originally been called to the scene to help evaluate whether the dam at the Braskereidfoss hydroelectric power station, needed to be blown open using explosives.

However police later said a decision had been taken to hold off taking any action on the dam, which lies along the Glomma river, the longest in Norway.

“The water has gradually begun to burst through the side of the dam, and at present no measures are being taken at the power station,” police said in a statement.

“The situation is being continuously assessed.”

READ | Heavy rains unleash landslides, flooding in Scandinavia

Operator Hafslund said in a statement that water had begun passing through the embankment dam — next to the power plant.

But the consequences were not so severe, the company said: “So far, it appears that the water diversion through the embankment dam is going well.”

Earlier, the operator had announced that as a result of a grid failure, the dam’s generators had stopped operating in the early hours of Wednesday.

“An automatic system should lead to the floodgates being opened in the event of a stoppage,” it said. The company did not know why this had failed in this instance.

The rising waters eventually flooded the facility, which was no longer operational, Hafslund added, noting that the incident had only resulted in material damage.

A crisis situation

In a separate statement, police said they had begun evacuating people living along the rising river.

They were also working to reduce the water pressure at the station, including using excavators at the site.

Several Norwegian police districts also reported that people had been evacuated from flooded areas.

Aud Hove, county mayor of Innlandet, one of the worst-hit areas, said 115 country roads had been affected by landslides or flooding, leaving people isolated in many instances.

Hove said: 

We are in a crisis situation of national dimensions. People are isolated in several local communities and emergency services risk not being able to reach people who need help.

Norway’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security said it had deployed seven additional helicopters to assist rescue services across the country.

“There are many evacuees, many people affected and enormous material damage,” Justice and Public Security Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said in a statement.

“It is a very demanding situation in large parts of the country.”

Norway and neighbouring Sweden have struggled to handle massive downpours since the weekend, which have caused both flooding and landslides.


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