A month ago, a massive flood struck the southern parts of Norway. Yesterday, His Majesty King Harald visited two of the areas that had suffered the most during the flood, Birkenes and the city of Kristiansand. It was the King himself who wanted to visit those who suffered from the flood. The visit is, therefore, a result of the King’s own initiative, and the visit was organised on short notice.
The King travelled along the river of Tovdalselva, which crossed its banks and destroyed many houses and cottages. Roy Pedersen was one of those who lost his home during the floods. To Norwegian state television NRK he said: “I think it is fantastic that the King took time to visit us, this really shows that he cares”.
NRK also spoke with Lisbeth Løland who also lost her home. She said: “The whole community could finally smile when the King came; we have not been able to do that for a long time now. We think it was fantastic that the King wanted to visit us”.
His Majesty also visited some of the companies and industries that were damaged by the flooding in October. King Harald visited the factory “3B” which produces fibreglass. This was the factory that suffered the greatest damaged during the flood. “It is amazing that he took the time to come. It is not natural for him to come here, but that means a lot to us,” said the union leader at the factory to NRK after the King had left.
At the end of the visit, His Majesty had a short meeting with the press. King Harald said he thought it was interesting to talk to people who experienced the flood at close range.
To NRK His Majesty said, “It has been very interesting. I have been allowed to talk to some people who have experienced the flood at close range.”
This was also the very first time King Harald visited the town of Birkeland. There His Majesty was greeted with a standing ovation when he came and hundreds of children standing along the streets with Norwegian flags shouting when the King arrived.