COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Greenland flags were flying at half-staff Wednesday across Denmark and in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, to mourn four people who are presumed dead after a tsunami flooded a village on the Arctic island's west coast.
Police spokesman Bjoern Tegner Bay said the missing are a family of three, including a child, and an elderly man from the settlement of Nuugaatsiaq (NOU-GAAT-siak), which has some 80 inhabitants. Their homes were washed into the sea while they were still inside them.
A landslide into the sea from a mountain across the fjord from the settlement on Saturday sent water surging onto the land, destroying 11 houses.
"This is the worst thing that could have happened — the flood cost loss of human lives," Greenland Premier Kim Kielsen said in a statement.
The Arctic island of Greenland is an autonomous part of Denmark.
As June 21 is Greenland's national day, the red-and-white flag with two horizontal bands and a disk, known by its Inuit name Erfalasorput, was flying atop official buildings. But because of the tragedy, it was lowered to half-staff.
A few thousand people had gathered in Nuuk for the national day traditional parade through the capital with Greenland flags, speeches and songs. The event started with a minute of silence.
"Life gives and life takes. Let life move on as we follow along," Nivi Olsen, deputy mayor of Nuuk, a city of 17,300 people, said, according to Greenland's main newspaper Sermitsiaq (SER-MIT-siak).
Search for the missing was temporarily stopped Tuesday due to fog, ice and currents. Police said it would resume when the weather permits.