Four people missing after flooding in remote Greenland village

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COPENHAGEN — Four people are missing after large waves flooded a remote settlement in Greenland this weekend, officials said on Sunday.

A Danish media report said the waves late on Saturday might have been caused by an earthquake creating a landslide into the sea, which in turn would have generated a swell.

Police in Greenland, which is part of Denmark with self-government over domestic affairs, had no comment on the cause.

[Greenland is considering wave-proofing two ports that are exposed to local tsunamis]

The Greenland government said the small village of Nuugaatsiaq in the northwest was flooded, while two other places in the same region, Uummannaq and Illorsuit, were also affected.

Uummannaq, Greenland - June 15, 2013: Colourful houses perched on a rocky hill in Uummannaq, Greenland. (Getty)
Uummannaq, Greenland, is shown in a  June 15, 2013 file photo. It is one of three communities affected by flooding from waves possibly caused when an earthquake triggered a landslide. (Getty)

Nuugaatsiaq was evacuated but four people were still missing, Greenland’s police said in Sunday’s statement.

Local media also reported several casualties.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) registered an earthquake with a magnitude of 4 in the area, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported.

GEUS senior researcher Trine Dahl Jensen told Ritzau that it was a “good guess” that the waves were triggered by a landslide because of the quake. “You have seen that in Greenland before,” Jensen said.

[A melting Greenland glacier seems to prompt worse tsunami events]

Liselotte Boehm of Greenland’s police told Danish broadcaster TV2 she could not confirm the cause. “What we know is that some big waves have caused flooding,” she said.

Denmark has sent emergency workers to support the Greenland police.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen.