At least 10 people have been injured after a night-time landslide in a small Norwegian town north of Oslo prompted the evacuation of about 500 residents, with more than 20 people still unaccounted for.
Several houses were swept away in the early hours of Wednesday in Gjerdrum, 15 miles (24km) north-east of the capita. It is home to about 5,000 people.
“Several homes have been taken by the landslide. Emergency services, with assistance from the Norwegian civil defence and the military, are in the process of evacuating,” Norwegian police said on Twitter.
Norwegian media said the size of the landslide area was 210,000 sq metres and about 500 people had been evacuated from their homes. Shortly after lunchtime on Wednesday, 21 people were still unaccounted for, according to the reports.
Police said in a statement: “We don’t know if these people are in the landslide area, if they are away on holiday or in another way unable to contact police.”
According to police, 10 people had been injured with one being transferred to Oslo with serious injuries. “Police are designating this as a disaster,” the chief of operations, Roger Pettersen, told the broadcaster NRK.
He said emergency calls had come in from people saying their entire houses were moving. “So there are dramatic reports and the situation is serious,” Pettersen said.
Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, offered her sympathies in a social media post, saying: “It hurts to see how the forces of nature have ravaged Gjerdrum. My thoughts go to everyone affected by the landslide.”