Grindavík Evacuated Again Due to Crevasse Risks

Grindavík earthquakes crevasse

Grindavík, the Reykjanes peninsula town of 3,800 people that was evacuated due to seismic activity in November, will be evacuated again Monday evening. The reason is ongoing danger of crevasses opening up in the area without warning. No unauthorised personnel will be allowed within the town limits for three weeks.

Director of Civil Protection Víðir Reynisson announced this in a press conference today and expressed his sympathies to the family of a man who fell into a crevasse in Grindavík Wednesday. Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir also addressed attendees and promised government action to provide evacuated families with housing. She added that she hoped that the town would be safe and habitable again by this summer or fall.

Following seismic activity for months, a volcanic eruption began at Sundhnúkagígar, north of Grindavík, on December 18 and lasted for three days. By Christmas, the residents of Grindavík were permitted to go back to their homes and businesses were allowed to reopen. However, crustal uplift continues in the nearby Svartsengi area and the Icelandic Meteorological Office warns that a new eruption could begin at any time.

Search for man discontinued

Further search and rescue operations for the man who fell down a crevasse are not justifiable for safety reasons, the Suðurnes police commissioner announced today. Search was called off Friday on the third day of operations, due to concerns over hazard to the rescue group. “A man died there and there was a collapse in the crevasse,” commissioner Úlfar Lúðvíksson told Vísir. “This is an indication about the dangers at play. In my estimation, this is the correct decision. We can’t search under these circumstances, unfortunately.

Úlfar warned that the situation of crevasses opening up within town limits was unprecedented. “Like we’ve repeatedly stated, I advise people to stay out of town,” he said earlier today before evacuation was announced. “There are crevasses all over and they’re treacherous. They are opening up. During this operation, this horrible event, we could see how deep they are. How life-threatening they are.”

Handball Team Kicks Off Euro Run with a Draw

In a nail-biter Friday, the Iceland men’s national handball team managed a late-game onslaught to secure a draw against Serbia in both countries’ opening game of the 2024 European men’s handball championship.

The match took place in Munich’s Olympic Hall and began with a strong defensive effort from both teams, as Iceland’s goalkeeper Viktor Gísli Hallgrímsson blocked a couple of difficult shots. After leading at half-time by one goal, Iceland saw Serbia begin to pull away. Led by top goalscorer Dragan Pechmalbec, Serbia held on to their advantage until the final two minutes. Two late goals from Aron Pálmarsson and the equaliser from Sigvaldi Björn Guðjónsson saved Iceland’s team from an opening loss.

Bjarki Már Elísson scored seven goals for Iceland, while Sigvaldi contributed six. Goalkeeper Viktor blocked 14 shots.

Next up, Montenegro

This edition of the tournament is hosted by Germany. After securing qualification and becoming one of the 24 national teams taking part, Iceland was drawn to face Hungary and Montenegro, along with Serbia, in the tournament’s Group C. The group’s top two teams will move on to the tournament’s main round and, if successful there, the knockout stage. With Hungary beating Montenegro in their opener, Iceland and Serbia are now tied for Group C’s second place with one point each.

“I’m not so happy with the performance,” Bjarki said after the game. “I thought we didn’t play so good through the match and we have to do better in the next one for sure. But we take the point to go on for sure.” Iceland will face Montenegro on Sunday and Hungary on Tuesday to close out Group C action, with both games taking place in the Olympic Hall.

Handball nation

The Iceland men’s national handball team has historically been very competitive on the international stage and the sport is very popular in Iceland. The team’s greatest success was the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

This was the second time Iceland faced Serbia in the opening game of a men’s Euro tournament and the second time that opener ended with a draw. After their first Euro match-up in 2010, Iceland went on to secure their best result ever in the tournament by winning the bronze medal.