June 13, 2024

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Swiss villagers have been ordered to evacuate their homes due to a rockslide in the Alps

Christoph Nanni/Civil Engineering Office Graubünden

An aerial view shows the village of Brienz, with the precarious slope rising above it.

(CNN) – Orders have been given to evacuate a Swiss village amid warnings that a looming large boulder could collapse in the coming days.

Leaders in Brienz held an event in the town hall on Tuesday evening and told residents they would have to leave by 6pm local time on Friday.

The head of the early warning service, Stefan Schneider, said the 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 next seven to 24 days.”

Watch this interactive content at CNN.com

Experts warn that such events may be the result of climate change.

Annual status of the World Meteorological Organization climate reportit was found that the European Alps had a record year of glacier melt, with Switzerland particularly severely affected, losing 6% of its glacier volume between 2021 and 2022.

Climate change is causing Alpine glaciers to melt, warns Rebecca Dale, a researcher at the University of Cambridge.

This melting may destabilize the mountain slopes above towns and villages. If the slope becomes too unstable, events such as rockslides may occur.

The village, which has fewer than 100 residents, is located in the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland, according to Swiss public broadcaster SRF.

SRF stated that geological surveys indicate that the situation is becoming more serious.

According to a statement from the municipality of Albula/Alvra, over the past century the village itself has moved a few centimeters each year, however over the past 20 years the movement has accelerated and the landslide is now moving about 1 meter per year.

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