Landslide Risk Lowers, Evacuation Order Lifted Skip to content

Landslide Risk Lowers, Evacuation Order Lifted

By Yelena

Photo: Lögreglan á Norðurlandi eystra/Facebook. Landslides and flooding at Björg farmstead, Northeast Iceland, on October 3, 2021.

Residents of 11 farms in the Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla region of North Iceland may return home after the evacuation order on the area has been lifted. Locals were evacuated as heavy rains caused over 20 landslides in the region and flooding in some areas. The residents of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, are not as lucky: authorities have stated the partial evacuation order in the town will remain in force until next week, as there is rain in the forecast. Some 20 people have had to leave their homes in the town, where landslides destroyed 14 buildings last December.

Heavy rains led to landslides in Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla last weekend, where some residents had to be evacuated by helicopter as flowing mud had cut off the roads. The residents have now been told it is safe to return to their homes. Roads in the area are, however, still considered at risk and are closed to thorough traffic.

Geologist Þorsteinn Sæmundsson told RÚV that there is evidence of landslides occurring more frequently in Iceland. “I think it is quite possible to say that the frequency of these big events is increasing,” he stated, while pointing out that heavy precipitation is not always the cause. Þorsteinn suggests Icelandic authorities should increase assessment and monitoring of landslide risk areas, as well as educate more specialists in the area: as is done for avalanches.

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