Volcanic eruption in South Iceland
The volcanic eruption in the glacier Eyjafjallajokull in South Iceland is continuing but Icelandic civil protection authorities have the situation as regards public response fully under control. The affected areas have been evacuated and damage has been limited to roads, bridges and other infrastructure that has been destroyed by flooding. Further damage to agricultural land is evident. A webcam of the volcano is available here.
Day to day business in Iceland apart from the directly affected areas in the south has not been affected. The ash hurled into the atmosphere by the eruption has however caused serious disruption of air traffic. Icelandic scientists and public authorities, the Meterological Institution (http://en.vedur.is/) and the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (http://www.isavia.is/), remain in close contact with their counterparts in Europe in order to monitor the eruption, the weather conditions and the projected path of the volcanic ash cloud.
Travelling in Iceland – safety first
Foreign visitors in Iceland that have had their flights cancelled are advised to contact their travel agents. Visitors coming to Iceland are encouraged to monitor the news and learn about their rights if the flight is cancelled.
Travelers are also urged to take all necessary general precautions while travelling in Iceland and seek the advise of local authorities.
Ash fall from the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull has affected air traffic in North Europe the last few days and therefore traveling to and from Iceland. People are encouraged to monitor the news and learn about their rights if the flight is canceled.
Passengers flying to or from Iceland are advised to follow updated travel information on http://www.kefairport.is/English/
• Information from Icelandair (http://www.icelandair.co.uk/information/media/newslist/announcement/item430206/Volcanic_ash_from_is_closing_airspace_(_UK_&_Scandinavia)/)
• Information from Iceland Express (http://www.icelandexpress.com/travel_information/)
• Information from SAS (http://www.flysas.com/en/unconnected_pages/Volcano-eruption-on-Iceland-/?idkeep=True&vst=true)
• Information from the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration www.isavia.is
Situation report from the Civil Emergency Authorities
Update on the situation 16 April 2010
The emergency evacuation implemented last night in response to flash flooding went well. Local residents, with the exception of 20 farms, were able to return to their homes when it became clear that flood barriers had held back the flood water.
There was no need for further evacuations during the night despite two additional flash floods that originated from the Gígjökull lagoon. The flooding did, however, cause widespread damage. A 400m section National route 1to the east of Markarfljótsbrú and sections of the road to the east Seljalandsá river have been washed away. National route 1 is closed from Þverá, which is to the east of Hvolsvöllur to Þorvaldseyri. The road close to Bleiksá river, in Fljótshlíð, is impassable in places.
The weather forecast for the affected area indicates westerly winds during the day becoming northerly in the evening. Volcanic ash can be expected to fall on the area to the south of the glacier during the evening and night. The volcanic ash particles are very fine and have been compared to flour and sugar in size. The Flourine content of the ash is high and presents a health risk to livestock in areas where the ash layer is more than 1 cm thick.
Health hazards of volcanic ash
There is considerable ash fall resulting from the volcanic eruption under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. The ash that is falling is composed of fine and course particles. The wind direction and other meteorological conditions have an impact on where the ash falls to earth.
The most common effects are respiratory effects and eye irritation. Those in affected areas should use a mask when outside and use protective goggles.
Children and adults with respiratory problems should remain indoors.
(Information provided by Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs)