A major storm sent snow and ice hurtling down Mount Sukkertoppen into Longyearben, a town in the arctic archipelago of Svalbard in Norway, on Saturday. Longyearben is the settlement of the main community in the area and inhabits 2,000 people. A 40-year-old man died and nine others were injured, of which four were children. The injured have been taken to hospital, where three are believed to be in serious condition.
The avalanche buried 10 wooden houses typical of the area, and shifted them off their foundations, The Guardian reported. Locals said houses set on the hillsides were displaced by about 20 metres. Rescue operations had to be carried out in the dark as Svalbard does not get direct sunlight from November to mid-February, reported the BBC. Residents of 40 houses have been evacuated in case of further calamities, and teams of doctors have been sent to the island from Norway’s bigger cities.