Grindavík Evacuated Again Due to Crevasse Risks Skip to content
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Photo: Golli. Many crevasses have opened up in Grindavík.

Grindavík Evacuated Again Due to Crevasse Risks

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.”

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