Swiss village of Brienz told to flee imminent monster rockslide
Residents of the tiny Swiss village of Brienz have been told to pack their bags and leave immediately.
The reason: two million cubic metres of rock from the mountain above them is set to come loose and crash down to the valley in the next few days.
The evacuation order has not come as a complete surprise to the remaining population of about 70 villagers.
The village itself is built on land that is subsiding down towards the valley, causing the church spire to lean and large cracks to appear in buildings.
Work was under way to try to stabilise that and there were signs the slippage might be slowing down. But ominously, the mountainside above Brienz was in the meantime breaking apart.
Instead, after latest risk assessments showed a rockslide was imminent, the order to get out came suddenly on Tuesday morning. From now on, no-one who doesn't live in Brienz will be allowed to enter, while all villagers must be out by Friday at the latest.
In 2006 huge chunks of rock fell off Switzerland's famous Eiger, causing the closure of hiking trails and prompting geologists to warn that such events could be expected more often.
In 2017, a massive landslide struck the village of Bondo, also in Graubünden, burying half the village and killing eight people.
Last summer, latest measurements showed that Swiss glaciers had lost more than half their volume in the last 100 years.