The inhabitants of Brienz are obliged to pack their bags. That is how clear the message has been that the residents of this small town in central Switzerland have received, who according to the country's authorities must leave their homes immediately if they wish to stay alive.
The reason? The imminent detachment of two million cubic meters of rock from the mountain that surrounds the town, which could fall into the valley in the coming days. Faced with the possible catastrophe, the 124 inhabitants of Brienz have received an evacuation order after activating the orange alert phase, news that has not caught anyone by surprise, since the town has been considered a geological risk for some time.
Brienz, a town located in the eastern canton of Graubünden -not to be confused with another town of the same name located in the canton of Bern-, was built on land that unfortunately is sinking into the valley, causing the spire itself to the church leans and worrying cracks appear in the buildings, as revealed by the BBC.
Despite the fact that a team of professionals began working on the slide with a view to stabilizing it, the mountainside has continued to crumble over Brienz, something to which its neighbors, who used to find rocks in their gardens, are used to.
The movement of the rocks has already been noticed by geologists, who observed a certain acceleration in the process. According to the BCC, "part of the rock face, innocently nicknamed "the island", was sliding in 2023 at a speed of 32 meters (105 feet) each year." These events led the authorities to ban entry to anyone who does not live in Brienz, while its inhabitants will have until Friday to leave their homes.
The residents of Brienz will be able to stay in nearby towns, such as the Lenzerheide station, an area with plenty of space now that the ski season has come to an end. However, it is not a long-term sustainable solution; And what is the reason behind this unfortunate episode? Once again, global warming. Glaciers shrink and mountain permafrost thaws, resulting in unstable rock.