Italy’s prime minister links glacier collapse in the Alps to climate change

A rescue helicopter lands on July 4, 2022, after rescue work in the Marmolada glacier, in the Dolomites, it is suspended due to bad weather afp_tickers

This content was published on Jul 04, 2022 – 10:43


On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi linked the collapse of the Marmolada glacier in the Alps, which left at least seven dead and eight injured, with “the deterioration of the environment and the climatic situation,” he said after visiting the region.

Draghi said after meeting in Kanazei (north) with rescue teams searching for nearly 14 people still missing after the avalanche on Sunday.

Luca Zaia, the governor of the Veneto region, told reporters that two of the injured were in serious condition and were in intensive care.

Rescue teams had little hope of finding survivors on Monday after part of the Marmolada glacier collapsed due to a heat wave.

The disaster occurred a day after a record temperature of 10 degrees Celsius was recorded on the top of the glacier, weakened by global warming, as well as by a heat wave that hit the entire Italian peninsula, accelerating its melting.

Giorgio Jager, head of the high-mountain rescue services in the area, warned that the chances of finding survivors were “almost non-existent”.

Due to bad weather that hit the area on Monday, the helicopter carrying Prime Minister Mario Draghi was unable to land in Canazei, so he was forced to arrive by car.

“It’s also a very dangerous situation for the rescuers,” who cannot advance on foot, Giovanni Bernard, mayor of Canazei, told AFP.

According to the press, at least three Italians and a Czech were among the hikers killed in the collapse.

“We found some mutilated bodies among the mound of ice and debris scattered at an altitude of 1,000 metres,” Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted Gino Comelli of the high-altitude rescue teams as saying.

– quick defrost –

The collapse of part of the Marmolada glacier “is a consequence of the current weather conditions, that is, an episode of projected heat that coincides with the problem of global warming”, Professor Massimo Frisotti, from the Science Department of Rome III University.

For his part, Pope Francis said on Twitter that “the tragedies we are experiencing due to climate change must encourage us to urgently seek new paths that respect people and nature.”

“It’s a miracle that we’re alive,” said Stefano Dal Moro, an engineer who was on the iceberg with an Israeli friend.

“We heard a boring noise and at that moment a sea of ​​ice broke out. There was no point in running, all you can do is pray,” he told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The glacier collapsed near the town of Punta Roca, on the usual route to its summit.

Technically, it’s a circus, i.e. a huge block that probably existed centuries ago and ended up in a valley, collapsing on an unobstructed path.

– Queen of the Dolomites –

Footage filmed from a shelter near the disaster showed snow mixed with boulders rolling down the slopes of the mountains accompanied by a bang.

Other photos taken by tourists with their mobile phones show the avalanche from afar, pulling everything in its path.

The Marmolada glacier, nicknamed the “Queen of the Dolomites,” is the largest glacier in this mountain range in northern Italy, part of the Alps.

The battalion reached a speed of about 300 kilometers per hour, according to local authorities.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on March 1, melting snow and ice is one of the top ten threats from global warming, disrupting ecosystems and threatening some infrastructure.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that glaciers in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Caucasus could lose 60-80% of their mass by the end of the century.

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