More cracks have opened up: Residents cannot enter the town today

Working on the repairs in Grindavík.

Working on the repairs in Grindavík. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

The plan was that the residents of Grindavík could make their way to Grindavík today but that will not be the case, according to Víðir Reynisson, the director of civil protection.

However, the hope is that Grindavík residents will be able to enter the town this weekend, where they can look after their homes, visit their farms or parts of them.

“Work is ongoing in full on repairing cracks in the town and then the bad weather has been a factor.” Reynisson says that during the thawing early ysterday, more cracks opened up and some repairs were washed out.

“At the same time we have these earth-scanning drones flying over the area and looking at the situation, and now we have added the fourth drone.”

Electric cables have been put over the new and hot …

Electric cables have been put over the new and hot lava field. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Split the area into grids

He says that work is being done as quickly as possible. Now, the idea is to let those residents who live west of Víkurbraut road enter the town at the weekend.

“We’re dividing that area into grids so that they’ll be admitted to each grid according to a specific plan. We try to do that so that as many people who have homes west of Víkurbraut road can get home to something during the weekend,” reynisson says.

He adds that much has yet to be done in the area east of Víkurbraut road, which is a more difficult and less secure area.

“We have a lot of groups working on repairs in the town. We want to speed up this work as much as possible, but the highest level of safety has to be guaranteed, of course.”

Enn rýkur úr hrauninu sem rann við Grindavík.

Enn rýkur úr hrauninu sem rann við Grindavík. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Most concerns about new cracks opening

Now the overall risk assessment for Grindavík has been reduced to first level. Why was this done?

“It’s primarily due to the decreasing risk of volcanic eruptions. As things stand now, scientists believe we’re in a certain shelter until magma has accumulated as much as before the last eruption. Even though the land is rising fast, we have some time now.”

Reynisson says that in the hazard assessment, new cracks opening is still the highest danger category, and therefore they are most worried about the safety of people in the area.

Scientists still believe there is a substantial chance of a volcanic eruption in the coming weeks, and he confirms that the Civil Protection is well aware that this could happen.

Víðir Reynisson, the director of civil protection.

Víðir Reynisson, the director of civil protection. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

No cold water in town

“That’s why we’re trying to create this window as quickly as possible, for residents to enter the town. Work is ongoing in all infrastructure and there’s a lot of work going on regarding heat and electricity. The town is without cold water now and it’s a big project to restore it.”

He says that the plumbers who were sent to town by the Civil Protection Department did a miracle in putting heat on the houses in Grindavík and preventing water and pipe damage. Their work saved a huge amount of valuables.

Around 70 people were at work in Grindavík yesterday.

Around 70 people were at work in Grindavík yesterday. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Hot air blowers used in houses without hot water

Earlier this week, the power supply went out of all towns after the HS Veitur trunk line from Svartsengi to Grindavík was damaged. A power line was built over the lava field, and Reynisson says that all houses in the town have been restored to power.

“Not all the houses have been supplied with hot water, but there are hot air blowers in those houses that do not have hot water, as in the harbour area. The hot water pipes there are badly damaged and it will take longer to restore them.”

In the last few days and weeks, industrial workers have at least twice entered every house west of Víkurbraut road and the Civil Protection Department says that the same can be expected for houses on the streets east of Víkurbraut.

It is expected that this work will be completed soon. Around 70 people were working on various projects in Grindavík yesterday.

Update 3 pm

Residents will not be allowed to enter Grindavík this weekend due to weather and preparations but a plan for which grids of town will be open and when will be published a few days in advance so residents can organise themselves before their visit .

Weather

Light drizzle

Today

2 °C

Overcast

Tomorrow

4 °C

Light rain

Friday

3 °C