120 Evacuated Following Mudslides in Seyðisfjörður Skip to content

120 Evacuated Following Mudslides in Seyðisfjörður

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

Mudslide in Seyðisfjörður
Photo: Screenshot from ruv.is.

No one was hurt when mudslides fell on residential buildings in Seyðisfjörður yesterday afternoon. Iceland’s National Police Commissioner raised the civil protection emergency level of Seyðisfjörður to alert and 120 people evacuated their homes. All of East Iceland is at an emergency level of uncertainty due to danger of landslides following heavy rain in the region.

Last week, East and Southeast Iceland saw heavy rains. The rain let up over the weekend but started again yesterday, with rain in the forecast until the weekend. Several mudslides fell into the town of Seyðisfjörður, reaching at least two houses and flooding several others. No one was hurt and the damage to property was minor but around 120 people left their homes when 50 industrial and residential buildings in four streets  were evacuated to reduce the risk of people getting hurt. The Red Cross opened up an emergency response centre where the people could receive care. The residents received dinner in the response centre but no one had to spend the night there as everyone found shelter with friends and neighbours. It should be noted that there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all of East Iceland and no one has been in quarantine since December 1.

The last landslide fell yesterday around 10 pm. There was less rain during the night and no landslides have fallen in Seyðisfjörður this morning to the best of the police’s knowledge. They’re waiting for first light to examine the situation and assess the damage. Residents who’ve vacated their houses and are in need of necessities from their homes are advised to go to Sæból, the Search-and-rescue team building where they will receive escort to the danger zone to retrieve their belongings.

Austurland Food Coop is a produce import company based in Seyðisfjörður, reporting delays on deliveries due to the mudslides. Its CEO Jonathan Moto Bisagni told Austurfrétt regional media that his family was among those who had to evacuate their home. They found a place to stay for the night and reported that the communal spirit was alive and well in Seyðisfjörður. “Eveyrone in town was ready to help out and a few people reached out to us to make sure we had somewhere to stay.”

All of East Iceland is at a level of uncertainty due to the danger of landslides. Soil in the lower part of mountainsides in the region is saturated with water and landslides have fallen in Eskifjörður, Seyðisfjörður and Fáskrúðsfjörður.

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