Thirteen houses in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland have collapsed or been completely destroyed by the recent mudslides in the town, Vísir reports. Experts say the damage is massive and could take months to assess. In addition to family homes, many cultural artifacts were damaged by the mudslides. Some areas of the town remain evacuated and several families will not be able to return to their homes before the new year.
Partial Evacuation Remains in Effect
Extreme rainfall over the past two weeks is the reason the mudslides occurred. Though weather conditions have improved, some areas of the town remain evacuated. A notice from the Civil Protection Department from this morning states that an alert phase remains in effect in Seyðisfjörður, along with a partial evacuation due to ongoing risk of mudslides. An “uncertainty phase” remains in effect for East Iceland due to the same risk.
Announcement from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and…
Not Just Property, but Cultural Loss
A working group has been appointed by the government to evaluate the damage in the town, and it will likely take months to complete the assessment. “It is too early to say how great the damage is but it’s clear that it is massive,” stated Director of the Civil Protection Department Víðir Reynisson. “My experience of such events is that it will take many months or years to fully assess the damage. The long-term rebuilding of such events generally takes five years.”
While many of the homes swept away by the mudslide were historic buildings, the disastrous event also destroyed or damaged many cultural artifacts housed in the town. The town’s historic shipyard and lathe workshop, which housed many artifacts significant to Iceland’s history, were also destroyed by the catastrophe. Experts will do their best to recover as much of the artifacts as possible.