Tsunami hits Greenland after small earthquake, leaving 4 missing

PUBLISHED Sun, June 18, 2017 - 1:42pm EDT
Credit: Olina Angie K. Nielsen

A tsunami triggered by a small earthquake has struck islands in western Greenland, destroying homes and leaving at least four people missing, local authorities say. Several other people have been injured. (more)

The incident happened at about 10:15 p.m. on Saturday when police received reports of major flooding in the settlement of Nuugaatsiaq, which is located on a small island off Greenland's coast. Large waves also hit the islands of Uummannaq and Illorsuit.

Authorities did not immediately know what caused the flooding, but a seismologist at the National Geological Survey for Denmark and Greenland told local media that it was triggered by a 4.0-magnitude earthquake that struck north of Nuugaatsiaq.

Tsunamis are usually generated by large earthquakes, but the small quake in Baffin Bay could have caused a submarine landslide. Seismologist Trine Dahl Jensen told the Jyllands-Poste newspaper that aftershocks are possible and further tsunamis cannot be excluded.

Police in Greenland said 11 houses were swept out to sea, leaving at least 4 people missing. Additionally, 78 people were evacuated from Nuugaatsiaq, including 9 people who were injured, according to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation (KNR). Two of those injured suffered serious injuries.

Nineteen people who were previously said to be unaccounted-for have since been located.

"I am deeply concerned that our country has been affected by a natural disaster that has affected so many people," senior government official Sara Olsvig said. "The authorities are at the site and an evacuation of the settlement is underway."

Foreign Minister Suka Frederiksen said there was no indication that foreigners are among the victims.






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