The collapse of part of the Marmolada glacier, the largest in the Italian Alps, is strongly linked to global warming, the Italian prime minister confirmed on Monday, a disaster that killed at least seven and injured eight others.
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Fourteen people were reported missing by their relatives, but their presence was not confirmed when the glacier broke off. Among the injured are two Germans, a 67-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman who are still in critical condition.
The disaster, which occurred the day after a record temperature of 10°C at the top of the glacier, was “undoubtedly” linked to “environmental and climate degradation”, amid an early heat wave on the Italian peninsula. situation”, Mario Draghi announced on the spot on Monday, expressing his “support” to the families of the victims.
Rescuers have deployed drones equipped with thermal cameras, hoping to spot survivors in the snow and crumbling rocks, Giovanni Bernard, the mayor of the town of Kanaji, told AFP. “These are dangerous conditions for rescuers” who cannot advance on foot.
Giorgio Gazer, head of high mountain rescue services in the region, warned the AGI agency that the chances of survival were “almost nil”.
“I was on the terrace of the shelter, I heard a rumble, I turned to my left and saw a mass of snow descending from the mountain and then a big cloud of dust. It lasted two or three minutes and the snow cloud melted,” Luca Medici, 54, a ski instructor living in Canazzi, told AFP.
Only three of the seven victims have been identified, but authorities have not released their nationalities.
The glacier collapsed near the Punta Roca area, usually on its way to its summit.
The tragedy “is a consequence of the current climate conditions, that is, an episode of early heat similar to the problem of global warming,” explained AFP Professor Massimo Frezzotti of the Roma Tre University’s Department of Sciences.
“Melting has accelerated in the Alps. We had a very dry winter with a 40-50% rainfall deficit. “The current conditions of the glacier correspond to mid-August, not early July,” opined the researcher.
“Due to these high temperatures, unfortunately the glacier collapsed due to the accumulation of water under it,” said In. Marmolada Glacier owner Paulo Talmon, 56, said. “I’ve lived here for 50 years and this is the first time I’ve seen this.”
According to local officials, footage shot from a shelter near the disaster showed debris of the glacier hurling rocks down the mountain’s slopes at 300 km/h. Shows speed. Other pictures taken by tourists on their mobile phones show the avalanche’s gray tongue in the distance, wiping out everything in its path, leaving climbers in its path no chance.
In images broadcast by Alpine Rescue, we can see rescuers working near the disaster site, with helicopters swarming victims in the valley to the village of Kanaji, not far from where the cable car leads. The top of the glacier.
The Marmolada Glacier, nicknamed the “Queen of the Dolomites,” is the largest glacier in this mountain range in northern Italy, part of the Alps. Located in Trentino, it gives birth to the Avicio River and overlooks Lake Fedea.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on March 1, melting snow and ice is one of the top 10 threats to global warming, disrupting ecosystems and threatening some infrastructure.
The IPCC suggests that glaciers in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Caucasus could lose 60 to 80% of their mass by the end of the century.