Arctic ‘doomsday’ vault to open because of Syrian civil war

Posted by on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1,300 kilometres from the North Pole.

It is the world's greatest repository of seeds. It has about 860,000 samples from most of the countries in the world stored in a facility cloaked in permafrost.

Not for the first time ever the facility will open the vault to remove some of its contents.

The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas has requested almost 130 boxes out of the 325 it had deposited in the Svalbard vault. ICARDA's temporary unit in the Lebanese capital was only partially functioning, and it needed these samples as part of "its role as a hub to grow seeds and distribute them to other nations.

Their work was interrupted by the the Syrian conflict, which has leveled swaths of Aleppo, once Syria's most populous city and its economic center.

The Team

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