Local officials began to take action on Thursday when the threat of the iceberg became clear. Amos Pjetturson, the local municipality’s emergency response manager, told local newspaper Sermitsiaq on Thursday: “If the icebergs calves, it may trigger a tsunami, so it’s quite a serious threat. We need to know where it is heading and how the situation is developing.”
Local village councillor Karl Petersen called for help from outside: “The inhabitants of Innaarsuit are very worried about this large iceberg, which is grounded in Innaarsuit, because it can have fatal consequences if it calves. I hereby address the press. May residents and visitors in Innaarsuit receive assistance in this serious situation.”
Another council member, Susanne K. Eliassen, told The Guardian that although it is common for residents to see icebergs close to the shore, this one is unique: “This iceberg is the biggest we have seen. There are cracks and holes that make us fear it can calve anytime,” she said.
Kenneth Elkjaer, a journalist from Greenlandic public broadcaster KNR, explained that “everybody is waiting to see what happens to the weather.” There is little that can actively be done about the iceberg except to hope that a kind wind dislodges it from its current spot and pushes it away from the village.
There was a glimmer of hope on Saturday as the iceberg appeared to have moved slightly overnight. It was reported that the iceberg had moved 500-600 metres further north.
“Fortunately, the iceberg moved further north over the weekend,” said Jakob Rousøe, head of operations for Joint Arctic Command. “Powerful wind from the south and a current headed north pushed the iceberg to the north.”
However, this hope was short-lived. On Sunday, local police chief, Aqqaluk Petersen, told Sermitsiaq: “I have spoken to the councillor this morning. He informs me that it was foggy in Innaarsuit this morning and there was no visibility. But now the fog is gone, and the iceberg has not moved since Friday night.”
As a result of this, evacuated residents are still waiting to return to their homes. But Susanne K. Eliassen reports that the villagers are not too concerned. “We feel safe, that’s for sure,” she told Sermitsiaq on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday morning, there still seemed no chance that the evacuated residents of Innaarsuit could return to their homes. “The iceberg has not moved very much” said Greenland’s Chief of Police, Gideon Quist.
However, following a risk assessment later on, which evaluated the possible waves created by the iceberg’s calving, Greenland’s police decided to reduce the danger zone. This meant that some residents were able to return to their homes. The supermarket, powerplant and fish factory continue to be closed.
“We were very busy at the factory with around 25 employees, but fortunately our fish have been frozen,” said the factory manager, Hans Peter Kristensen.
The latest statement from the news media Sermitsiaq was: “On Wednesday, the police, after consulting the local emergency services, decided that the danger area defined in the coastal area of Innaarsuit will be terminated Wednesday from 1 pm.
The current location of the iceberg is 500-600 meters north of Innaarsuit. This means that Innaarsuit is protected from the iceberg by a wall of rock to the north”.