Norway has taken damage control measures to rectify the flooding situation in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a giant seed bank in the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, Reuters reported. On Saturday, The Guardian had reported that the seed bank, which was built in 2008 and houses around a million packets of seeds of most of the food crops known to man, has been flooded after the permafrost it was built in started melting.
While acknowledging that the flooding was unexpected, a spokesperson representing Norwegian state construction group Statsbygg said, “The seeds in the seed vault have never been threatened.” Statsbygg had built the structure which opened in 2008. “Svalbard Global Seed Vault is facing technical improvements in connection with water intrusion,” the statement said.
Statsbygg spokesperson Hege Njaa Aschim said several measures were taken to address the problem, including the removal of electrical equipment which was a source of heat and building of waterproof walls inside the structure and ditches outside. The number of visitors would be reduced to limit human body heat, she said.
“The seeds are safe and sound,” tweeted The Crop Trust, an international nonprofit group collaborating with the Norweigian government on the project.