King Harald and Queen Sonja, accompanied by Crown Prince Haakon, visited Gjerdrum on Sunday, 3 January 2020, following the devastating landslide.

Mayor Anders Østensen, Police Chief Ida Melbo Øystse and Taskforce Leader Anders Solberg Bru met the Royal Couple and the Crown Prince when they arrived just before 11.00 am.

Source: Facebook/The Royal Court of Norway

King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon met with evacuees and their relatives.

They thanked municipality and emergency services representatives who have worked tirelessly since the landslide began early on Wednesday morning.

We have had a moving day behind us. I have trouble finding things to say because this is absolutely awful.

King Harald V of Norway, 3 January

They were briefed in a meeting by the municipality and the civil sector on how to take care of those affected, and their relatives.

Mayor Anders Ønstensen said, ‘We are a hard-pressed municipality that is in a completely unreal situation.’

‘On Wednesday, this municipality went from being a small, sleeping municipality to being the centre of one of the worst disasters in Norway in a long time. We practice crisis and crisis management, but this was far beyond our comprehension,’ Mayor Anders Ønstensen continued.

Taskforce Leader Anders Solberg Bru provided updates about the situation in the landslide area and the ongoing rescue operation.

Fire and Rescue Service crews and the Police are using helicopters, drones and dogs, as they continue searching for missing people.

After the visit, King Harald said, ‘We have had a moving day behind us. I have trouble finding things to say because this is absolutely awful.’

Queen Sonja added, ‘We have gained a very good insight into the work that has been done in the emergency services. It is very impressive – talented people and good unity. It made a huge impression. This small municipality of 7,000 has a warmth of heart that we have experienced so strongly today. This will and the compassionate feeling has permeated everything we have encountered today.’

Lighting Candles in Gjerdrum Church

Bishop Atl Sommerfeldt greeted the Royal Couple outside the Gjerdrum church.

King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon lit candles in memory of those who died and for those also affected by landslide.

Gjerdum Landslide

The huge landslide in the Norwegian village of Gjerdrum, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) north-east of the capital Oslo, has buried a minimum of nine building under dark mud, injuring 10 people, six confirmed dead and four people are still missing.

The landslide began during the early hours of Wednesday, 30 December 2020, when residents called emergency services when their houses were moving, following two massive tremors and a blackout.

The last large landslide in Norway occurred in Verdal in 1893.

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