Authorities gave permission yesterday for Grindavík residents to enter the town and pick up some of their belongings. Residents were allowed re-entry in groups and had three hours to collect their most important possessions, Morgunblaðið reports.
This was the first time residents were allowed back into town since a volcanic eruption began on January 14. The eruption near Grindavík destroyed three houses, caused crevasses to form across town, and displaced the 3,800 inhabitants for the unforeseeable future. The town had already been evacuated once before, on November 10 last year, due to seismic activity.
Strict rules for re-entry
Many Grindavík residents had not returned to town since before Christmas and were anxious to receive permission from police and authorities to return. The road conditions on Krýsuvíkurvegur were suboptimal during the visiting hours and many cars got stuck in snow. Even though the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration cleared the road yesterday morning, heavy snowfall caused condition to quickly deteriorate.
Residents had to follow strict rules during their visit. They were not allowed to adjust the heating in their homes, use bathrooms, or move around the town. Many open crevasses remain across the area and infrastructure is damaged.
“We picked up more clothes and toys for our children,” said resident Alexandra Hauksdóttir, who returned with her husband Gunnar. “Gunnar took his golf clubs and we also picked up our pizza oven. Just this and that, but no large items.”
The couple moved in to a new house two and a half years ago, but it is now near the largest crevasse and the lava which flowed into town. “I felt at home there,” Alexandra told Morgunblaðið and added that they would like to return with their two children when it’s safe. “We’re staying in Keflavík in a 60 square metre apartment, down from 190. It makes a difference.”
The Icelandic Red Cross has set up a page with donation options for those wishing to lend support. This includes both one-time donations and repeat subscriptions.