Graubünden landslide - climate change close up

Switzerland is in shock after an enormous landslide in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. Huge quantities of rock and rubble crashed down from the tip of the 3,369 metre high Piz Cengalo mountain past the village of Bondo and into the valley, precipitating a massive landslide. Eight hikers are still missing but in the village itself no one was hurt. In the eyes of the press the disaster shows how high a price Switzerland must pay for climate change.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Switzerland must provide for risks

It's high time Switzerland put more funds into adapting to the consequences of climate change, the Tages-Anzeiger urges:

“Switzerland can't stop the increase in greenhouse gasses on its own. As a rich country, however, it can arm itself against the dangers of climate change. But for that one thing must be clear: prevention is expensive, but it's cheaper than cleaning up after the fact. Bondo is a perfect example. The fact that this latest landslide didn't destroy the village wasn't just a matter of luck. After similar events in the past, Bondo took precautions and built a concrete wall and a collecting tank. The cost: 4.5 million francs. Back then the project had its detractors. ... But now at the very latest those who opposed it must be glad they lost the vote.”

Südostschweiz (CH) /

Resettlement instead of reconstruction

The Südostschweiz calls for those living in areas particularly endangered by climate change to be resettled:

“Protection from natural dangers will become more expensive and difficult in densely and decentrally populated Switzerland. This raises the question of how much residual risk we as a society are willing to bear and how much money we want to invest to protect victims from falling rocks and mudflows even if they are living in areas known to be unsuited for habitation. Whether we like it or not we'll have to get used to not being able to live wherever we want anymore. Resettlement measures are hard for individuals but they can be vital for society.”