Saturday, January 22

Gjerdrum was decorated with hearts and candles on the one-year anniversary of the landslide

Gjerdrum municipality encouraged everyone in the municipality to hang up hearts and light candles on the day of the one-year celebration of the landslide on Ask.

Pastor Torbjørn Olsen, volunteer Per Arild Olsen, Aud Mork Bredesen and Pastor Terje Køldsvik outside the culture house in Gjerdrum. It has been a year since the large landslide in Ask in Gjerdrum municipality where ten people lost their lives.

In memory of the ten who lost their lives, and for all those who lost their homes, the residents of Gjerdrum marked the one-year anniversary of the natural disaster on Thursday. The original plan for a full gathering in the culture house in Ask and several other places in the municipality, had to be changed and adapted to the new corona rules.

– Part of the program had to be canceled due to the infection situation, but we will lay a wreath at a temporary memorial we have established, said mayor Anders Østensen to NTB earlier Thursday.

Lights and gathering places

All the inhabitants of Gjerdrum were encouraged to light candles in the driveways and in their courtyards, as well as to make hearts with good thoughts and words. Many also went with torches to the temporary memorial.

During the whole day, there have been several places around the center of Ask where fire pits have been set up and where people have been able to gather. Many took the opportunity to write greetings and thoughts on red paper hearts that were hung on the Christmas tree in the center.

– There have been many strong conversations around the fire pans. My impression is that more people now have the strength to tell their story about what they experienced that night. There have been many nice and strong stories, said mayor Anders Østensen to NRK in a live broadcast from the celebration.

All the inhabitants of Gjerdrum were encouraged to light candles in the driveways and in their courtyards, as well as to make hearts with good thoughts and words. Many also went with torches to the temporary memorial.

– We encouraged all residents of Gjerdrum to put out lights in their own courtyards, driveways, gardens and verandas – all places where it is possible to put out lights this day !, wrote the municipality to all the inhabitants. And very many followed that call.

Gjerdrum culture house is open from early in the morning until late in the evening, and volunteers and employees from the municipality and the church will serve waffles and coffee.

A photo exhibition about “The small village with the big heart” will be opened, and a concert from Ask kulturhus, with Knut Bjørnar Asphol and Erlend Gunstveit, will instead be streamed.

The church in the center of Ask will also hold an open church on Thursday evening between 19 and 21.

Lost 14 buildings

The landslide last year is one of the largest quick clay landslides in Norwegian history. An area of ​​300 by 700 meters collapsed, and 14 buildings with 31 residential units in Nystulia disappeared in 1.35 million cubic meters of clay. Some houses were moved up to 400 meters.

Thirteen people were rescued from the landslide during the first hours, while ten people lost their lives. Several of them were missing for a long time before they were found dead. The last deceased was not found until March 25.

1,600 people were evacuated from their homes when the landslide occurred. It would be over a month before 600 of them were allowed to move back home. One year later, 200 people still have the status of evacuees, but many will never be allowed to move back to their homes.

– Many will probably never move back. Either because the house is no longer there, or because it is not suitable to live in. Many of the houses are within the fence where it can not be guaranteed that it can be stabilized or secured, says Østensen.

Gjerdrum municipality also lost a kindergarten and several elderly and care homes.

Several of the survivors feel overlooked

Several of the survivors after the landslide lack good enough follow-up after the disaster.

One of those who would like to hear more from the municipality is Tomm Ottar Holte. He and his wife Elin barely managed to save their lives, but then the house next door disappeared in the avalanche. One of the residents there died.

– We have a resource center in Gjerdrum, it took a little long, but there we have received very good help. But the municipality in general, we have not heard a pick from. We would like to see them get in touch to hear how we are doing, if there is anything they can contribute, he says to NRK.

Mayor Østensen is aware that some of the inhabitants feel they have not received good enough follow-up.

– But the big picture is that many are very happy, especially with the psychosocial team, which is also part of the municipality, he says and points out that the municipality has spent a lot of resources on staffing this team.

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