KEY POINTS

  • Children among the 10 people still reported missing
  • The landslide was among the most severe to strike the country
  • At least 1,000 people have been evacuated

With 10 people still missing from Wednesday’s devastating landslide, Norway said it was vetting calls from neighboring countries to help with search and rescue.

A landslide described by the government as among the most severe to ever strike the country buried parts of the village of Gjerdrum, about 15 miles northeast of the capital, Oslo. The government said 31 residential units and nine other buildings have collapsed.

Roger Pettersen, the head of a police task force responding to the incident, said Swedish search and rescue crews were already there working and Denmark had offered additional assistance.

“We are looking for survivors,” Pettersen was quoted by state broadcaster NRK as saying. “This is a rescue operation.”

Because of the risks of new landslides, search and rescue operations have been conducted mostly by air. An estimated 1,000 people have been evacuated so far, an increase from the 700 or so on Wednesday. Ten people are still unaccounted for, including adults and children, though that’s considerably less than the previous day.

The national hydrology agency said parts of the crater remain unstable and crews are working to determine areas that would be safe from an on-ground operational standpoint. Edges of the crater continue to break away. Shorter days and snowy conditions, meanwhile, have compounded search and rescue operations.

Pettersen added that authorities were asking area residents to avoid fireworks or other loud celebrations for New Year’s Eve given the risk of triggering more landslides.

Authorities said wet conditions loosened the clay soil in the area. According to the Reuters news service, geological surveys from 2005 found the area had a heightened risk of landslides, but developers moved onto the site some three years later.

Norway’s 83-year-old King Harald was quoted by the BBC as saying the tragedy made a “deep impression” on the royal family.

"My thoughts are with everyone affected, the injured, those who lost their homes and are now living in fear and uncertainty of the full extent of the disaster," he said.

Norway's Prime Minister described the landslide as 'one of the largest' the country had seen Norway's Prime Minister described the landslide as 'one of the largest' the country had seen Photo: NTB / Fredrik Hagen