State of emergency declared: 4,000 evacuated as Iceland braces for eruption

Editorial Staff

A state of emergency has been declared in Iceland, with approximately 4,000 residents ordered to evacuate from the town of Grindavik.

Iceland has been rocked by more than 500 earthquakes in the southwestern Reykjanes Peninsula, tearing through the town of Grindavik and raising fears of an impending volcanic eruption.

The activity is likely to impact fishing and processing giant Samherji, which owns arctic char facilities in the affected area as well as Matorka, which also operates land-based char sites.

Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) is a cold-water fish in the family Salmonidae, native to alpine lakes, as well as Arctic and subarctic coastal waters in the Holarctic.

Grindavik, is just 30km from Keflavik, the country’s main airport, and around 40km from Þorlákshöfn, the country’s new land-based salmon farming hub.

“We do not know where or when this might occur, so it is hard to say what effect it could have on our exports,” Aranlax CEO Bjorn Hembre told SalmonBusiness in reponse to the question of whether the company anticipated logistical difficulties. “If it turns out like the 3 previous eruptions, it has no effect on our operations.”

Despite the recent quakes being slightly less intense, experts believe they are a prelude to an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano.

Authorities have ordered thousands of people living in the southwestern town of Grindavik to leave as a precaution. An eruption could start at any time in the next few days, according to the IMO.

All roads into the town of around 4,000 people are closed other than for emergencies, to ensure traffic can get in and out.

Evacuees have reported feeling disoriented by the tremors and hearing unsettling sounds emanating from underground.

Authorities are hastily constructing protective barriers around a nearby geothermal power plant in anticipation of potential lava flows.


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