A catastrophe loomed at the foot of the highest mountain in the Alps. Because of the high temperatures, a huge part of a glacier slipped dangerously. But now the situation seems to have stabilized again.
Since the middle of the week there was uncertainty in the Val Ferret. The ice masses of the Planpincieux glacier threatened to roll down everything in the small north Italian valley. Residents and holiday guests were brought to safety as a precaution.
Now comes the all-clear for the area at the end of the Aosta Valley. The situation on the glacier has normalized again, all protective measures have been lifted, said the authorities of the Courmayeur municipality. They had previously feared that a piece of glacier the size of Milan Cathedral could break off and fall into the valley. Due to a relatively rapid rise in temperature, the ice had started moving too quickly, and 500,000 cubic meters threatened to slide off.
Evacuation and road closure
The town hall of Courmayeur closed several roads in the small valley of Val Ferret for 72 hours on Wednesday evening in view of the announced high temperatures and ordered the precautionary evacuation of around 30 houses in a “red zone” below the glacier. 15 residents and more than 50 tourists were affected. They were now allowed to return to their homes.
The famous Courmayeur ski station itself is in the vicinity of the Val Ferret, but was not affected by the impending glacier break. After criticism from residents and tourism representatives there, who feared the consequences for their business, which had already been badly shaken by the Corona crisis, the Courmayeur municipality now defended the measure: The warning was necessary, but only affected a small area. However, the administration regretted the scare tactics of some media.
In autumn 2019, an ice block about half the size of the Planpincieux glacier threatened to break off. He has been under constant surveillance ever since.
AR / ust (afp, dpa, rtr)