OSLO (Reuters) – A dam on a Norwegian river partially collapsed on Wednesday, sending water gushing through a hole in the structure, television images showed, after days of heavy flooding in the area.
The Braskereidfoss power dam on the Glomma River, Norway’s largest waterway, has been unable to open its hatches after its control room was flooded.
Utility company Hafslund said in a statement that water appeared to be flowing through the dam in an orderly fashion after the breach.
A police spokesman said there were no immediate indications of major flooding downstream.
The police had earlier considered blowing one of the openings of the 45-year-old dam to help ease the situation, but decided not to because the explosion was difficult to control.
Norway evacuated thousands of people as rivers swelled to their highest levels in at least 50 years, and homes and businesses were inundated or swept away by landslides.
Major roads were closed and train services suspended across large parts of southern Norway as rivers breached their banks, and authorities warned of more flooding in the coming days as water moved towards low-lying coastal areas.
A railway bridge collapsed on the line connecting Oslo to Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city, but there was no danger to people as trains had already been suspended since Monday.
Inlandet County, one of the hardest-hit regions in Norway, said many people were cut off by the floods and that first responders may not be able to reach those in need.
“We are in an emergency of national proportions,” Inlandt Mayor Oud Hof said in a statement.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security told TV2 that the government decided on Wednesday to mobilize more helicopters to take part in the evacuation.
Strong winds, heavy rains and landslides have hit various parts of the Nordic region in recent days, cutting power lines in Finland, flooding villages in Norway and Sweden, and halting public transport in the hardest hit areas.
On Monday, a Swedish train was derailed when a railway bridge was washed away by floods, injuring three people.
Authorities in Norway and Sweden maintained red alerts, their most severe flood warnings, for several regions on Wednesday.
(Cover) By Terry Solsvik and Victoria Clesty, Editing by Alexandra Hudson, John Stonestreet and Angus McSwan
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