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At least several people were missing after a glacier broke off and plunged into a lake in western peru on Sunday, causing a 23-meter (75-foot) tsunami that devastated a nearby town, authorities said on Monday. The incident happened at a lake in the Andes near the town of Carhuaz. It said at least five people remained missing and that two injured had been taken to a local hospital. According to the Civil Defense, at least 50 houses were destroyed when the tsunami struck. Others had been damaged by the wave, which flooded the area and destroyed the lake’s levees. A water processing plant also was destroyed. Damaging tsunamis are rare, and are most known to be caused by earthquakes. However, tsunamis can also be generated by other events such as volcanic eruptions and landslides.
(Reuters) - A huge glacier broke off and plunged into a lake in Peru, causing a 75-foot (23-meter) tsunami wave that swept away at least three people and destroyed a water processing plant serving 60,000 local residents, government officials said on Monday.
The ice block tumbled into a lake in the Andes on Sunday near the town of Carhuaz, some 200 miles north of the capital, Lima. Three people were feared buried in debris.
Investigators said the chunk of ice from the Hualcan glacier measured 1,640 feet by 656 feet.
"This slide into the lake generated a tsunami wave, which breached the lake's levees, which are 23 meters high -- meaning the wave was 23 meters high," said Patricio Vaderrama, an expert on glaciers at Peru's Institute of Mine Engineers.
Authorities evacuated mountain valleys, fearing more breakages.
It was one of the most concrete signs yet that glaciers are disappearing in Peru, home to 70 percent of the world's tropical icefields. Scientists say warmer temperatures will cause them to melt away altogether within 20 years.
In 1970, not far from Carhuaz, an earthquake triggered an avalanche of ice, rock and mud on the mountain of Huascaran that buried the town of Yungay, killing more than 20,000 people who lived below Peru's tallest peak, which sits 22,204 feet above sea level.
Blaming climate change, Mr Alvarez said: "Because of global warming the glaciers are going to detach and fall on these overflowing lakes. This is what happened."
20 years left -- for the glaciers of Peru.
20 years left for civilization more likely.