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Cancels the evacuation: – Now I hope everyone is delighted

The water level in the dam at Hellefoss has fallen below a critical level, according to new measurements from Å Energi. This, combined with updated water flow forecasts from NVE, has led Øvre Eiker municipality to cancel the evacuation of residents in Gamle Hokksund and on Frognes. The evacuation was initially expected to last until Tuesday next week, but the municipality has now reversed its decision, bringing relief to around 200 evacuated residents. The municipality has set up an information center to provide support and answer questions, and the water level has dropped to a safe level, eliminating the risk of damage to the dam. The mayor, Knut Kvale, expresses his gratitude to the community and acknowledges the challenging decision-making process involved in evacuations. It has been a busy and intense few days for the municipality, but the situation has now become more manageable.

UPPER SPOKES: New measurements from Å Energi in the dam at Hellefoss show that the water level today is below a critical level.

This, together with new forecasts for water flow in the Drammen river from NVE, means that Øvre Eiker municipality cancels the evacuation of residents in Gamle Hokksund and on Frognes. Øvre Eiker municipality reports this in a press release. The suspension applies from 16:00 on Saturday.

On Friday, the municipality announced that the evacuation was to last until Tuesday next week. Now they have made a complete U-turn.

Around 200 evacuated

Øvre Eiker municipality also reports that they are setting up an information center at Arbeideren in Gamle Hokksund. It will be open until 9pm on Saturday evening.

– Here the evacuees can come to chat or get answers to questions. Representatives from the municipality will be present together with personnel from the evacuation center at Eikertun, writes the municipality.

It was Thursday evening that residents in houses between Dynge-gata and the Drammenselva in Gamle Hokksund and Frogneskroken in Frognes were evacuated. A total of around 200 people spread over 80 households, says mayor Knut Kvale. This happened with the help of the Red Cross and Norwegian People’s Aid, as the water level in the dam at Hellefossen made the situation uncertain.

Normal water flow in the dam is 300 m3 per second. In recent days, the water flow has been 1,800 m3 – quantities of water that have never been seen before, writes the municipality on its own website. In such situations, there may be a risk of material damage to the dam. On Saturday afternoon, the water has therefore dropped to a level which means that there is no longer any danger of damage to the dam.

It is a relieved and delighted mayor who talks to Drammens Tidende on Saturday afternoon.

– This was a much easier message to give than the message we came up with a couple of days ago, says Knut Kvale and smiles.

– Hope everyone is delighted

The evacuated residents who have not stayed with family and friends have stayed in hotels in Kongsberg.

– Now I hope everyone is delighted. The rationale is relatively simple. Dameier, Å Energi, has lowered the danger level at the dam. Now it is no longer at the red level. Then we can make such a decision. Now we are left with an ordinary flood situation. We are used to the river where we live, but the threat of dam breaks is less frequent, the mayor elaborates.

– Has there been a lot of meeting activity today before you came to the decision to cancel the evacuation?

– Yes, today there has definitely been a lot of meeting activity. There have been many considerations to take into account. I want to pay tribute to the population. The inhabitants of Øvre Eiker are loyal. I am also proud and grateful to all employees who once again rolled up their sleeves and took on the challenge. It has been reassuring for me when you have to make such a decision, says Kvale.

– Yesterday you assumed that the evacuation would last until Tuesday. Bit of a change?

– Yes. When we gave that message, we had in mind that it could be an abbreviation. But there has been a bit of uncertainty up until now, says Kvale.

He says that the municipality has relied on the assessments of Å Energi and NVE, and that all forecasts now show that the water level in Øvre Eiker is on the way down.

A lot to think about

Kvale says that the last few days have been busy.

– There have been many decisions to make, much to coordinate and much to think about. Telling residents to move from their homes at short notice is not an easy or pleasant message to give.

#Cancels #evacuation #hope #delighted

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