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Iceland Mag

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Emergency evacuation plan in case of eruption in Öræfajökull glacier

By Staff

  • Stay safe Öræfajökull is one of the most terrifying volcanoes in Iceland. Photo/Icelandic Civil Protection Agency.

The Icelandic Civil Protection Authority has prepared an emergency evacuation plan for Öræfajökull volcano. The volcano has been showing signs of growing activity in recent weeks, raising fears that it might be waking from its 290 year slumber. A 1362 eruption was the second deadliest in Icelandic history.

Read more: Uncertainty phase still in effect for Öræfajökull volcano

öræfajökull location

Öræfajökull The volcano is located in southern Vatnajökull glacier Photo/loftmyndir.is

Authorities estimate that there at least 2,000 people at any time in the areas which could be in danger in the case of an eruption in Öræfajökull. Two of Iceland's most popular destinations, Skaftafell visitor center in Vatnajökull National Park and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon are on the edges of the area. Ensuring the safety of these people poses a challenge, as authorities believe we will get at most a 20 minute warning before the effects of an eruption are felt along the coast.

Area will be closed by ICE-SAR

If an eruption takes place ICE-SAR will set up roadblocks on the Ring Road to ensure people do not enter the area. The roadblocks will be at Lómagnúpur mountain in the west and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in the east. 

The Department of Civil Protection will send a text message to all cell phones in the region between Lómagnúpur mountain and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon:

"Emergency message from the Police. Volcanic eruption is imminent in Öræfajökull. Evacuate to Svínafell I, Hof I or Hnappavellir II, Höfn or Kirkubæjarklaustur depending on your location."

Anyone located between the roadblocks should immediately take the following places:

If you are located to the east of Kvíá river you should proceed east toward Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the town of Höfn.

Of you are located west of Freysnes farm and rest stop you should proceed west toward the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

Anyone caught between these two points should proceed to the following farms:

If you are located to the east of Fagurhólsmýri farm proceed to the farm Hnappavellir II.

If you are located to the west of Fagurhólsmýri you should either proceed to Hof I or Svínafell II, depending on which one is closer to you.

People should then wait in their cars for further instructions, unless volcanic ash or tephra starts falling. In this case people should immediately seek shelter in the nearest building. Emergency Evacuation Plan for Öræfajökull

In the case of an eruption The Emergency Evacuation Plan for the area around Öræfajökull glacier. Photo/Icelandic Civil Protection Agency

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