COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A landslide that swept away homes in a residential area north of the Norwegian capital will cost insurance companies at least 900 million kroner ($107 million), a financial body said Thursday.
Seven people were killed and three remain missing after the landslide in Ask, a village of 5,000 located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Oslo, on Dec. 30. It was among the worst in modern Norwegian history.
Finance Norway, which represent 240 financial companies, said it was only a preliminary estimate.
“The compensation estimate will change when we know more about the extent of the damage,” said spokeswoman Stine Neverdal.
She said many houses in the area have either been damaged or swept away, and it is currently unclear which parts of the area hit by the landslide will be declared uninhabitable by the municipality. In addition, there is damage to a number of other, larger buildings in the area, Neverdal said.
On Tuesday, Norwegian authorities said they have given up hope of finding survivors.
The exact cause of the landslide isn’t yet known, but the area has a lot of quick clay, which can rapidly change from solid to liquid form when it is disturbed. Experts said the clay, combined with excessive precipitation and damp winter weather, may have contributed to the landslide.
In 2005, Norwegian authorities warned people not to construct residential buildings in the Ask area, saying it was a high-risk zone for landslides, but houses were built there later in the decade.