A tiny village in Switzerland is about to be crushed by a massive sliding rock leading to possibly 'disastrous' damage.
Residents in the idyllic mountain village have been ordered to abandon their homes in Brienz, in the eastern canton of Graubünden, because of fears it will be covered by rock from a nearby collapsing mountainside.
The village has been around for centuries and has less than 100 residents.
The residents have been given until Friday evening (12 May) to evacuate the area. The mayor of the village, Daniel Albertin, believes all residents will be gone by today.
“This is a huge task for the entire community,” he said.
Officials say measurements indicate a ‘strong acceleration over a large area’ in recent days. It is believed that ‘up to two million cubic metres of rock material’ will fall down the mountain the next seven to 24 days.
Christian Gartmann, a member of the crisis management board of Albula – the municipality that includes the village of Brienz – said: “The rock moves at a speed of up to 36 metres (39 yards) per year.
“We expect it to fall towards the village within the next few days or weeks,” Reuters reports.
Farmers loaded their cows onto trucks to escape the village before the rock falls and wreaks havoc this week. Some areas have been cordoned off with warning signs alerting the villages of the rockfall.
One farmer said the evacuation is ‘doable’ despite the rapidly changing circumstances.
“It’s just a big effort for us now,” Hanneke Bonifaci said. “It’s a very short time, but it’s doable”.
Authorities believe 2 million cubic metres (2.6 million cubic yards) of rock could soon break off the mountain and fall onto the homes located down below.
Switzerland is at an increased risk of natural hazards, include an increase in erosion due to higher temperatures caused by climate change, Swiss authorities said.
Locals and officials are waiting to see the extent of the damage caused by the falling rock. One thing is for sure, the quaint homes in the village will be harmed in some way.
"The rock can come down in sections, which would be the most favourable solution," Gartmann said. "It can also fall all at once, which would be disastrous for the village."Featured Image Credit: Graubünden Civil Engineering Office/YouTube/@antoniotropea1993