Greenland officials to discuss iceberg threat to Innaarsuit residents

A 100-metre high iceberg (Photo Credit: KNR News) posing tsunami threat to the tiny island of Innaarsuit off Greenland has not moved away since Saturday night, police said, adding that its inhabitants have to be on the highest alert.

An earlier report on Sunday said the iceberg had drifted northward. That could not be confirmed because it was raining heavily in the morning and visibility was low. After the fog lifted, it was found the iceberg has not moved, Greenland police chief, Aqqaluk Petersen, told local newspaper Sermitsiaq.

He said the Greenland Emergency Board with representatives from the self-government, Arctic Command and health service will meet on Monday to assess the situation and take measures for the safety of Innaarsuit’s inhabitants.

Locals said they have never seen an iceberg of this size. Some 30 residents living in homes facing the iceberg have been evacuated to a safer area in the island which has around 170 inhabitants.

Greenland police said in a release that  Pilersuisoq Store in Innaarsuit will remain open so locals can buy supplies and fuel. Police and rescue teams are monitoring the situation in the island.

A search-and-rescue helicopter has been moved closer to the remote island.

Susanne K. Eliassen, a member of the village council, told Sermitsiaq that cracks and holes on the iceberg make people fear it can calve anytime triggering a massive flood. The village’s power station and fuel tanks are close to the shore, she said.

Last month, scientists had filmed a 6.4-kilometre ice chunk breaking off a glacier in Greenland and drifting off in the watery expanse.
As more and more icebergs break away from glaciers, people living in islands like Innaarsuit are facing tsunami risks.

Four people died and 11 others were injured when an earthquake triggered a tsunami this year in Nuugaatsiaq, a settlement located on an island in north-western Greenland.