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Friday, May 24, 2024

Another volcanic eruption struck south-west Iceland

Grindavík in south-west Iceland has been plunged into chaos as a volcanic eruption struck for the second time in less than a month.

The tranquil fishing town of Grindavík in south-west Iceland has been plunged into chaos as a volcanic eruption struck for the second time in less than a month. The eruption, marked by two menacing fissures near the town, led to the evacuation of the entire community just a day before the disaster unfolded.

Unfolding Tragedy

The first crack in the Earth’s surface, located about 450 meters from Grindavík, erupted at 8 am, prompting authorities to construct protective barriers to redirect the lava away from the town. Unfortunately, a second fissure emerged later in the day on the town’s edge, measuring approximately 100 meters by evening. Despite efforts, the protective measures failed to contain the lava flow, resulting in at least three houses being engulfed in flames.

Read More: Volcano in Iceland erupts after weeks of earthquake activity

Community in Shock

The tight-knit community, accustomed to the quiet rhythm of a fishing village, now faces an unimaginable crisis. Local resident Sveinn Ari Gudjonsson expressed the collective grief, stating, “In a little village like this one, we’re like a family, we all know each other as family – it’s tragic seeing this.” The spectacle of glowing orange lava and billowing smoke clouds against the dark sky left residents in disbelief. One resident likened the surreal scene to “watching a film.”

Presidential Address

Iceland’s President, Guðni Jóhannesson, addressed the nation, emphasizing unity in the face of adversity. He acknowledged the unfortunate reality, stating, “What we all hoped would not happen has happened.” While assuring that no lives were in immediate danger, he cautioned that crucial infrastructure might be at risk.

Unpredictable Volcanic Activity

Benedikt Ófeigsson from the Icelandic Meteorological Office highlighted the unpredictable nature of the volcano, stating that it “continues to surprise us.” Despite initial signs of slowing down, the eruption gained momentum, causing concern for the safety of the town’s residents.

Emergency Alert and Ongoing Threats

Iceland’s civil protection agency elevated its alert level to “emergency,” the highest on its scale, signifying potential harm to people, property, communities, or the environment. Authorities are closely monitoring the Svartsengi geothermal plant, which supplies electricity and water to 30,000 residents of the Reykjanes peninsula.

Historical Context

This eruption marks the fifth on the Reykjanes peninsula since 2021. Grindavík had already experienced a powerful volcanic eruption on December 18, leading to the evacuation of its 3,800 residents as a precaution. Although some had returned in recent weeks, Saturday’s events necessitated another evacuation.

Read More: Iceland ranks no.1 as world’s safest country, while Pakistan ranked at 116th

Linda Karen Gunnarsdóttir from the Animal Protection Association of Iceland highlighted the urgency of rescuing a group of sheep still confined within the town’s pens. The wellbeing of these animals adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing crisis.