On Saturday, June 17, 2017, there was a landslide in Karrat Fjord. The landslide triggered a tsunami. Residents of both Illorsuit and Nuugaatsiaq are currently relocated at other locations.
For further information, please refer to information from the Department of Nature and Environment: emergency_assessment.pdf (246.6 KB) (danish only)
Illorsuit – which means “the many big houses” – is located some 100 km from Uummannaq, on the northeast coast of Illorsuit Island. The settlement is situated in a sloping terrain, delimited by high mountains and is therefore divided into two – a northern part with around ten houses, and a southern part featuring other functions and homes. Due to its north-facing location and the high mountains, the citizens do not see the sun from 11 October to 4 March.
As a minimum, the current level of service and housing is to be maintained. Any development should take place to the south. The goal is to continually strengthen and develop fishing and tourism, e.g., by means of versatile production, stable employment, and using the active culture and preservation-worthy buildings for tourism. Furthermore, infrastructure and buildings are to be protected from the terrain (e.g., rock slides) and public institutions established to improve the citizens’ living conditions.
At the beginning of 2017 there were 67 inhabitants in Illorsuit. The population fell from 148 to 108 people in the period 1977 to 1987, after which the number began to rise until 1999, where 147 people lived in the settlement. Since then, the number has fallen evenly. The population is expected to continue to drop, so the planning period primarily calls for replacement buildings in connection with redevelopment.
The settlements of Uummannaq total 509 homes (2010 figures). In 2017, the settlements numbered 367 households and a total of 981 inhabitants. This corresponds to an average household size of 2.7 persons per household, as is also the case in town of Uummannaq. Houses are all single-family houses. Typically, many of the houses are in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment and quite a few are empty.
Because of its low location in the terrain, the settlement is challenged by difficult foundation conditions, and snowslides are a common occurrence. In the northern part of the settlement, the coast is being eroded, posing a future threat to the houses and road in the area to be considered in terms of future residential development. Several buildings in the settlement have also sustained subsidence damage, e.g. the school and the health-care station. The remaining capacity of the existing residential areas is considered sufficient, corresponding to some 60 homes.
The primary trades are fishing, sealing and whaling. The settlement features a couple of minor production plants that process fish (Greenland halibut) and seal skin. The quay is a pontoon unloading bridge with a small water depth, and boats are moored along the beach unto which boats are hauled. Naalakkersuisut has designated a port authority area off the landing-barge dock.
Jobs in Illorsuit also relate to service functions: the shop, the school, the municipal settlement facilities and office. Tourism also generates jobs. The seven settlements in the Uummannaq district had a total unemployment rate of 6.7% in 2015, which is lower than for the town Uummannaq (7.8%). The Uummannaq settlements, as well as the Ilulissat settlements, both have a total unemployment rate of 6.7%, which is Avannaata Kommunia's lowest. The unemployment rate is therefore also lower than both the municipal average (9.1%) and the national average (9.1%).
In the town plan, the remaining capacity for industry and port facilities is estimated to around 7,000 m².
The settlement’s helistop is located on an even sandy area south of the settlement. Other transport is by sea, using dog sledges or snowmobiles. The settlement has a single wheel track, which roughly extends from the northern part to the helistop and dump in the south. The section of road to Kussinersuaq is worn-down and in need of rehabilitation. Illorsuit also has a couple of short paths.
The power plant and tank installations are located on the coast, slightly north of the quay. Water supply is based on melting ice, and in the summer, water is collected from a river north of the settlement. Day-time refuse and metal scrap are deposited on the dump some 500 km south of the settlement and burned in the open. Night soil is collected in drums and discharged – via the night-soil ramp piping – into a small creek that feeds into the sea. Grey wastewater is discharged above ground. Factory wastewater is discharged directly onto the beach. A technical operation is handled by Nukissiorfiit.
On the mountain to the south, poles are established. Telecommunications is handled by TELE Greenland A/S.
Illorsuit boasts a shop, a municipal office, a service house, a nursing station, a village hall, a church as well as a community workshop. Childcare is usually in the shape of family day care.
The school (Atuarfik Aaralik) is located south of the settlement and has approx. 15 pupils in the 1st to 9th grade and a library. The school premises are also used for recreational club activities.