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Norway landslide: There is no hope of finding any more survivors, say police

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By Euronews
Rescue teams will continue to search through the rubble in the village of Ask.
Rescue teams will continue to search through the rubble in the village of Ask.   -   Copyright  TERJE PEDERSEN / NTB / AFP
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Norwegian police say there is "no longer any hope" of finding any more survivors after last week's deadly landslide northeast of Oslo.

Three people have still not been found in the village of Ask, where homes were swept away by the landslip on December 30.

Seven other people died in the worst landslide in modern Norwegian history, while ten others were injured.

"There is no longer any hope of finding survivors after the landslide," police said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The search is entering a new phase, and the police will now spend time making plans for how this will be done."

"It is with great sadness that I must say that we no longer have any hope of finding people alive after the landslide", added local police chief Ida Melbo Oeystese.

"We have done everything in our power, but this natural disaster had significant forces."

Authorities had been looking through the rubble in below-freezing temperatures while helicopters and drones with heat-detecting cameras flew over the ravaged hillside.

At least nine buildings with more than 30 apartments were destroyed by last week's landslide, evacuating around 1,000 residents from the municipality of Gjerdrum. Some buildings are now hanging on the edge of a deep ravine.

On Monday night, the rescue crews found a small dog alive and in "good condition" among the rubble, which had raised hopes of finding the three missing people.

But just before midday on Tuesday, a smaller landslide forced crews to evacuate the site, and await further assessments from geologists.

The exact cause of the landslide is not yet known but the area is known for so-called quick clay, which can change from solid to liquid form with heavy rainfall.

In 2005, Norwegian authorities had warned people not to construct residential buildings in the Ask area, saying it was a "high-risk zone'' for landslides.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she received the news about the abandoned search for survivors "with great sadness'' and that her thoughts were with the friends and families of the victims.