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13 Jul, 2018 13:05

Iceberg tsunami warning: Greenland fishing village on red alert as locals gripped by fear

Iceberg tsunami warning: Greenland fishing village on red alert as locals gripped by fear

A massive iceberg bearing down on a tiny coastal village in Greenland has triggered a state of emergency, as locals fear it could cause a tsunami.

The tiny village of Innaarsuit is situated in northwestern Greenland, facing out over the frigid waters of Baffin Bay. The enormous iceberg crept closer to the village for days, before becoming grounded in shallow water on Thursday, according to local media outlet KNR.

The village’s inhabitants have been told to evacuate and make for higher ground, as the iceberg towers over the village’s cliffside houses. “There are 180 inhabitants and we are very concerned and afraid," local politician Karl Petersen told CBC News.

With the iceberg halted, the danger is far from over. Chunks of ice have begun to fall off the iceberg, and if a large chunk splits away and falls – a process called ‘calving’ – it could cause a tsunami. A small piece of the iceberg has already become dislodged.

Heavy rain is forecast in the region over the weekend, which could increase the likelihood of the iceberg calving. Even if a tsunami doesn’t occur, calving could send a surge of water up rivers near the village, causing flooding.

The coastal area in danger is home to several elderly residents, as well as the village’s shop and power plant. Residents are now hoping for the wind to pick up and dislodge the iceberg, letting it float away from their village.

Last June, the village of Nuugaatsiaq, around 100 miles south of Innaarsuit, was hit by flash flooding caused by a landslide. Four people were killed and 11 more injured as houses were washed away into the sea.

As well as causing landslides and tsunamis when they melt, rogue icebergs can float into North Atlantic trade routes, causing havoc for shipping.

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