natural catastrophes

200 Evacuated After Rash of Landslides

Nearly 200 people have been evacuated by helicopter from a mountainous area in northern Sweden after five successive landslides severed roads to the community of Ritsem in Norrbotten.

News agency TT reports that melting snow has combined with severe flooding to create landslides that have heavily damaged the fifty kilometer road leading to the small town in the mountains.

Several hundred people have been trapped in the area ever since the landslides crashed down on Saturday night, although some people have chosen to stay put.

The hope was that the road could have been opened on Monday, but that wish was summarily dashed when a new water-logged landslide spewed debris all over the area.

"Most things are against us right now," Alf Waara, head of road maintenance in the municipality, told TT. "It is raining heavily and it is really warm, which causes the snow to melt intensively. All the rivers and streams are gushing rapidly at the moment."