Iceland volcanic eruption
| Oddný Björg Halldórsdóttir
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.
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 the following web pages:
• Keflavik International Airport
• Information from Icelandair
• Information from Iceland Express
• Information from SAS
• Information from the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration
Icelandic Met Office publishes every 6 hours a defined area of ash contamination (SIGMET) within the Icelandic flight information region. This information is based on the Volcanic Ash Advisory from London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre on website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/vaac/vaacuk_vag.html
The Icelandic Tourist Board
held a meeting at noon today, 16 April 2010, whereupon it was decided to issue a press release stressing that day-to-day life in Iceland is just as usual, even though the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier on the south coast of Iceland has made a profound impact and generated dangers in a specified area. In other parts of the country, Icelanders’ daily life is proceeding quite normally.
Even though the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull is relatively small, airborne volcanic ash has dispersed over a wide area and disrupted air travel in Europe. It is the joint task of the aviation and tourism authorities in Europe to find ways to transport travellers to their destinations with absolute safety.
It is the task of Iceland’s Civil Protection Department to ensure that the utmost safety measures are followed in Iceland, and to provide a constant flow of information to all parties that need it. Euro Control and the Volcanic Ash Center take decisions on air travel authorisations in Europe.
Even if the eruption is prolonged – and its duration is impossible to predict – it is considered likely that volcanic ash formation will taper off once the preconditions for the mixture of water and embers no longer exist.
The Icelandic Tourist Board wishes to forewarn the public of exaggerated news reports on the eruption but encourages travellers to keep abreast of developments.
Travellers currently in Iceland are safe and well-treated, and the appropriate parties are making every effort to make their stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible.