A Swiss village has been ordered to evacuate amid warnings a large mass of rock looming overhead could come tumbling down in the coming days.
Leaders in Brienz held a town hall event on Tuesday evening and told residents they would have to leave by 6 p.m. local time on Friday.
The head of the early warning service, Stefan Schneider, said that measurements indicated a “strong acceleration over a large area” in recent days, and “up to 2 million cubic meters of rock material will collapse or slide in the coming seven to 24 days.”
The World Meteorological Organization’s annual State of the Climate Report, found that the European Alps saw a record year for glacier melt, with Switzerland particularly badly affected, losing 6% of its glacier volume between 2021 and 2022.
Rebecca Dell, a researcher at the University of Cambridge warns that climate change is driving glacier melt in the Alps.
“This melt may destabilize the mountain slopes above towns and villages. If a slope becomes too unstable, events such as rockslides may occur,” she told CNN.
The village, which houses less than 100 residents, according to Swiss public broadcaster SRF, is located in Switzerland’s eastern canton of Graubünden.
SRF reported that geological surveys suggested that the situation has become more precarious.
According to a statement by the Albula/Alvra municipality, over the last century, the village itself has moved a few centimeters each year, however the movement has accelerated over the last 20 years, and the landslide has now been moving about one meter per year.
This story has been updated to correct the map showing the location of Brienz.