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Evacuated Swiss village to allow residents to return

A rockfall narrowly misses hitting a Swiss village in Brienz/Brinzauls.
The landslide at Brienz/Brinzauls occurred in the early hours of Thursday, June 16, narrowly missing the Swiss mountain village, but causing damage to the reflectors used for monitoring the rock face. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

The mountain village of Brienz/Brinzauls in canton Graubünden, which narrowly escaped a major landslide, will soon welcome back its residents during the day from June 26. However, the water supply is still uncertain.

According to a tweet by the municipality of Albula on Thursday afternoon, the village of Brienz/Brinzauls will once again be accessible to residents from June 26 onwards. While the evacuation order remains in effect for now, residents will be permitted to return during the day with a special permit. However, the general ban on entering the area still applies, the municipality said.

++Swiss village is evacuated under rockslide threat

Closure of airspace continues

The municipality said on Thursday that almost all meadows in the village can be farmed again. Starting from Monday, farmers will be permitted to enter the village between 8am and 9pm. The municipality will directly inform them via an SMS service in case of any safety concerns. However, the closure of airspace in the area remains in effect.

Vacation home owners receive special permit

Starting from Friday, June 30, owners of vacation homes will also receive a special permit to return to the village. The municipality encourages residents to report any damage to their homes to the municipality. Christian Gartmann, spokesperson for the municipality, mentioned in a statement to the Keystone-SDA news agency.

No drinking water

There is a concern regarding a burst water pipe, which is unrelated to the landslide. The pipe is expected to be replaced by the end of next week, but until then, residents will not have access to drinking water.

Municipality aims for full return

The municipal management staff is optimistic that the residents of Brienz will be allowed to fully return to their homes soon. However, this will require continued monitoring and data analysis by geologists. Gartmann emphasised the importance of these measures.

Presently, there have been no new incidents or accelerated rock movements on the slope above the village since last week’s huge landslide. In fact, there have been several consecutive days without any incidents, which is highly unusual for Brienz, according to Gartmann.

Reflectors replaced following landslide

After the major landslide in Brienz/Brinzauls on June 16, some of the reflectors used to measure the speed of rockslides on the slope were damaged. However, geologists replaced these reflectors on Tuesday.

++Huge landslide narrowly misses Swiss mountain village

Gartmann informed Keystone-SDA on Wednesday that a comprehensive assessment of the rock face had been completed. The objective is to determine the level of remaining danger to the village of Brienz.

A huge landslide occurred at Brienz/Brinzauls in the early hours of Thursday, June 16. An estimated 1.5 million cubic meters of rock slid down the mountainside, narrowly avoiding the village. However, it covered a cantonal road and left a significant deposit in front of the school building. Additionally, the landslide caused damage to the reflectors used for monitoring the rock face. 


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR