Enormous Flood Damage at University of Iceland

One of the classrooms affected by the flood.

One of the classrooms affected by the flood. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Vala Hafstað

Most buildings on the University of Iceland campus were flooded yesterday, after a cold water main that lies through the campus broke around 1 am yesterday. Jón Atli Benediktsson, rector of the university, tells Morgunblaðið it is impossible to try to assess the damage at this point, but that clearly, it is enormous. It is believed to be in the hundreds of millions of ISK.

University of Iceland Rector Jón Atli Benediktsson.

University of Iceland Rector Jón Atli Benediktsson. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

“Much of the university’s instruction is online,” he states, “so the impact is not as great as it otherwise would have been. Still, many university buildings cannot be used for a few months and possibly not until the fall.”

Roughly 2,250 tons of water flooded the campus before the leakage was contained. That is close to the amount of water needed to fill the Olympic-size indoor Laugardalslaug swimming pool.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

“This is a major problem,” Jón Atli tells mbl.is . “There is a great deal of cleaning up to do; everything has to be thoroughly dried to prevent mold. It will take us months.”

Fortunately, the building in which old Icelandic manuscripts are stored, Árnagarður, was not affected by the flood.

The water main that broke is one of a few that provide cold water to the western part of Reykjavík. Crews have been in the process of replacing it lately.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Veitur, the utility company in charge of water distribution in the capital area, released a statement yesterday, regretting the incident, adding that its cause is being investigated.

Firefighters were called out at 1 am yesterday to pump water out of the buildings. They responded quickly and completed their task by mid-day yesterday.

Jón Atli issued a statement yesterday, announcing that all instruction that until now has taken place in the buildings Háskólatorg and Gimli will from now on be online.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


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