Four missing after tsunami hits tiny village in Greenland

Experts said the quake likely triggered a landslide into the sea, resulting in the tsunami and flooding

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 2:05pm

Four people were listed as missing after an earthquake sparked a tsunami off Greenland and forced some residents to be evacuated.

“Four people are missing,” local broadcaster KNR quoted local police chief Bjorn Tegner Bay as telling a news conference in the autonomous Danish territory.

There were no confirmed fatalities, but Bay said 11 houses had been swept away after a magnitude 4 quake late Saturday off Uummannaq, a small island well above the Arctic Circle.

Some residents posted images to social media showing huge waves breaking over buildings in the town.

Experts said the quake likely triggered a landslide into the sea, resulting in the tsunami and flooding. That’s not a rare occurrence on the Arctic island that is an autonomous constituent country within Denmark.

“A good explanation is that the quake created a fault at the origin of a tsunami,” meteorologist Trine Dahl Jensen told Danish news agency Ritzau, warning of potential aftershocks.

“It’s not normal, such a large quake in Greenland,” she said.

KNR quoted Ole Dorph, mayor of Qaasuisup, a municipality in the area affected, as lamenting “a serious and tragic natural catastrophe which has affected the whole region.”

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted news of what he termed a “terrible natural catastrophe at Nuugaatsiaq.”

The world’s largest island situated between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, Greenland, population 55,000, has an ice sheet particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Additional reporting by Associated Press