The Governor opens Lia, Nybyen and the area around Svalbard Kirke. The evacuees may move back home from 18:00pm this evening. The evacuation of the residents in Vei 232,522 to 232.544 and the private dog yard is maintained. A new evaluation will be made tomorrow morning.

The Governor Kjerstin Askholt informs that the decision is taken after consultation with Longyearbyen Local Community Council and experts on mass movements at the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).

NVE informs that no new landslide activity of significance has been observed Wednesday. Slides caused by flooding due to low temperatures often have a long extension, but with the temperature we have at the moment, and the temperature expected later on, the danger of flow-like slides is not present. The temperature is supposed to decrease below 0°C during the night and a very small amount of rain and sleet is expected. This is very favourable considering the likeliness of landslides and flow-like slides. There might still be some movements in the ground and it is not possible to rule out small cracks in the ground and minor landslides but these will not threaten the settlements.

The Governor and experts on mass movements have surveyed the Longyearbyen area including the hillsides, both on foot and by helicopter during the day. The inspection strengthens the decisions made. The Governor Kjerstin Askholt informs that concerning Gruvedalen and the city dog yard further investigations have to be made and the situation observed for one more day before a new evaluation will be made. She points out that minor landslides and rock falls may still occur in the hillsides.

- We ask people not to do hikes in the terrain and to take necessary precautions, she says.

Melkeveien will still be closed. The Governor emphasis that this applies to both drivers and people on foot.

Part of the road to Bjørndalen is damaged and therefore closed.

The cabin areas outside Longyearbyen are not included in the same surveillance as the valley of Longyearbyen. People in these areas must take precautions and be cautious.

Representatives from The Governor's office and Longyearbyen Local Community Council will be present at Rabalder in Longyearbyen Kulturhus from 18:00 pm to 19:30 this evening in order to answer any questions from the community regarding the evacuation and the situation on landslides/flooding.

See enclosed map (pdf)