Seyðisfjörður Residents May Return Home

The evacuation order in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland has been lifted and the alert phase due to landslide risk has been lowered to an uncertainty phase, the Civil Protection Department announced in a notice sent to media yesterday afternoon. According to calculations presented on October 11, the deflecting and catching dams above the town should divert any landslides toward the sea and prevent damage to buildings in the town. Residents living in the defined risk area have thus been permitted to return to their homes.

A series of landslides destroyed 14 buildings, including residential homes, in Seyðisfjörður last December. Around 20 residents were evacuated earlier this month after movement was detected in a mountain ridge above the town. That movement has slowed in recent days, according to the Civil Protection Department. However, fissures have formed in the ridge, increasing the likelihood it will break apart. “If it falls, it will probably do so in a few sections,” the notice states. “This can be expected during a rainy period sometime in the near future.”

Even if the ridge falls all at once, calculations showed the existing barriers should divert the resulting landslide away from the town. In light of that information, East Iceland Police has lifted the evacuation order on the remaining five houses that were still evacuated and lowered the alert phase placed on the area to an uncertainty phase. Hikers are reminded to exercise caution on the paths near Búðará and other locations where the barriers divert potential landslides.

The Icelandic Met Office provides regular updates on data collected in the area.

Over 20 Landslides in North Iceland Last Weekend

landslides suður þingeyjarsýsla

Over 20 landslides fell in North Iceland last weekend, in the Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla district, RÚV reports. Two of them occurred just last night and while the mountains remain saturated with water, others may yet follow. An uncertainty phase remains in effect in the Tröllaskagi region in North Iceland due to continued rainfall.

Around 30 people have been evacuated from their homes in the region due to the landslide risk. The residents of the farmstead Björg were evacuated by helicopter after landslides cut off the roads. The heavy rain also flooded some 18 houses in Ólafsfjörður, where Search and Rescue crews were at work throughout the weekend pumping water out of basements. The water formed a large lagoon in the town which crews were working to empty yesterday.

Seyðisfjörður Houses to be Relocated After Mudslides

Nearly 20 apartments will be built in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, to replace some of the housing that was destroyed by mudslides at the end of last year. Local Council Head Björn Ingimarsson hopes the new apartments will be ready this autumn. Houses near the affected area that remain evacuated will be relocated to other parts of the town.

Fourteen houses were destroyed in mudslides that devastated Seyðisfjörður shortly before Christmas last year. In addition to family homes, many cultural artifacts were damaged by the mudslides. Some houses near the impacted area were evacuated permanently: new locations have been found for all of the houses within the town and they will eventually be relocated, Björn stated in a radio interview on RÚV this morning.

“These are houses we want to continue to use, as they have both cultural value and residential value,” Björn stated. The houses’ former residents, as well as those whose homes were destroyed in the mudslides, have all found new housing, either temporary or permanent. Other construction projects are on the horizon for the East Iceland town, including a tunnel that will connect it to Egilsstaðir: construction will begin next year. Björn says the locality hopes to use material from the tunnel to build up an industrial area by the harbour.

Located in a picturesque fjord, Seyðisfjörður is a town of nearly 700 residents and is where the Norræna ferry docks on its trips between Iceland and Scandinavia. Hundreds were displaced by the mudslides last year, which luckily did not cause any injuries or fatalities.

Seyðisfjörður Mudslides: Residents Evacuated Again

Residents of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, were evacuated from six of the town’s streets yesterday evening due to the danger of landslides. The National Police Commissioner, in consultation with the East Iceland Chief of Police and the region’s Met Office, has declared a phase of alert in the town due to landslide risk. Over a dozen of the town’s buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged by mudslides last December.

There was heavy rainfall in the town yesterday evening and across the region. Rain combined with thawing snow and above-freezing temperatures are conditions that increase the likelihood of landslides from the steep slopes above the fjord town. The evacuation was called “precautionary” by authorities, who are still evaluating whether the Botnabrún slope has destabilised further following the largest of the December landslides. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing in the mountains on Thursday.

East Iceland experienced a high number of avalanches, slush floods, and landslides over last weekend. Three houses in Seyðisfjörður were also evacuated on Sunday, February 14 but the evacuation order was called off the following day.

Seyðisfjörður Mudslides: New Apartments Ready in Spring

New rental housing could be completed in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland as early as this spring, RÚV reports. Rental company Bríet, the Minister of Social Affairs, and several other parties signed a declaration of intent to construct apartments in the picturesque town, where mudslides destroyed 12 buildings and heavily damaged five others last December.

Read More: Evacuation Lifted in Seyðisfjörður

While evacuation orders for the town have been lifted, a preliminary risk assessment has determined that four buildings in the mudslide area may no longer be used as residential housing due to the risk of further landslides at the location. An uncertainty phase remains active in Seyðisfjörður due to ongoing risk of mudslides and residents have been told to expect evacuations in the coming months if weather conditions are unfavourable.

Planning Already Begun

Minister of Social Affairs Ásmundur Einar Daðason expressed his hope that the apartments would be ready in the spring. “The rental company Bríet was founded due to measures we took to ensure housing development in the countryside,” he stated. “And because we launched this control measure, we can respond quickly here in co-operation with the municipality, which we otherwise would not have been able to do.” Construction planning has begun for the project and representative expect to decide where the apartments will be located in the coming weeks.

Ásmundur says the Ministry of Social Affairs has set aside funding through the Housing and Construction Authority as well as Bríet to support families that have lost their homes due to the mudslides.