Seyðisfjörður Mudslides: Municipal Council Discusses Housing For Displaced Residents Skip to content

Seyðisfjörður Mudslides: Municipal Council Discusses Housing For Displaced Residents

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

Seyðisfjörður landslide almannavarnir
Photo: Almannavarnir/Facebook.

The municipal director of Múlaþing Björn Ingimarsson hopes that new housing can be built for the people who lost their homes in the recent Seyðisfjörður mudslides, Austurfrétt reports. While the municipal council is not authorising reconstruction on plots where buildings were destroyed, for insurance purposes, Múlaþing’s municipal council is working on securing housing quickly for the town’s displaced residents. Some

The council agreed yesterday that reconstruction would not be permitted in the ten plots of land where buildings were destroyed December 18, until a new risk assessment and satisfactory defences against mudslides are finished. Half of the plots in question are allotted for residential buildings and a half for industrial use. The decision means that the Natural Catastrophe Insurance of Iceland will compensate the owners for their loss according to the assessed value for fire insurance.

Even if the damage is monetarily compensated, inhabitants of the destroyed houses are yet to find new homes in town. Also in search of shelter are people living in zones where evacuation orders are still in place and people who haven’t yet mustered up the courage to return home.

The municipal council was adamant at the meeting yesterday that solutions were to be found for this group as quickly as possible, in order to keep the displaced residents in town. “I haven’t heard of many planning to leave but it’s essential that projects like the one created in cooperation with Bríet be extended and constructed as quickly as possible so we can have new residences ready this spring or summer,” stated Hildur Þórisdóttir, municipal council member and former chairperson of the Seyðisfjörður municipal council. Bríet is a project operated by the Housing and Construction Authority, intended to invigorate the housing market outside of the capital area.

Before the mudslides fell, plans for new construction in Seyðisfjörður through the Bríet initiative were already in place. The municipal council director Björn Ingimarsson is hopeful that new construction will be speedy, stating: “I’m optimistic that we can see practical solutions to the housing problems that can be put in use in the first half, or before the middle of this year.” He added that all displaced residents of Seyðisfjörður had found temporary housing through the Múlaþing municipal council. Most had found housing in Seyðisjförður but not all. These temporary housing solutions would be in place through January but they were yet to find time to confirm them for a longer duration.

The Natural Catastrophe Insurance of Iceland will compensate the owners of houses destroyed in the mudslides, but there’s still some uncertainty regarding buildings still standing in risk areas. A government fund buys houses in areas where residence is unsafe and either tears them downs or moves to a safer location, but the price depends on the estimated real estate’s assessment value, which is often lower than its assessed value for fire insurance in this region.

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