The devastating landslides that struck Seyðisfjörður in December are still wreaking havoc in their own way. While no one was killed or injured, 14 homes in the east Iceland village were destroyed and, while many residents were allowed to return soon after the entire village was evacuated, many are still without a place to live. Even for those who have been allowed to return, there are still extensive repairs to be done and the clean-up is daunting.
Fortunately, not everyone is sitting idly by. A new initiative, “Saman fyrir Seyðisfjörð” (“Together for Seyðisfjörður”) has been launched, a collaborative effort started by Lama-sea Dear, who lived in Seyðisfjörður for a year and has worked there periodically over the past five years.
Something has to be done
“I’d recently moved to Copenhagen and was sitting on my computer refreshing the news and speaking to friends on the phone,” she recalls of the wake of the landslides. “I felt so far away and like there wasn’t anything I could do to help, so I came up with the idea for this project so that we could raise awareness for the town and do something. If I were there, I’d pick up a shovel and start digging, make someone a cup of tea, or at least hug my friends. This was my way of doing that.”
She contacted a couple of people, including Símon of the Heima Art Residency and together they have been running the project together along with the assistance of others.
“We’ve created a platform for Facebook and Instagram and are in the process of setting up a website [which will be up and have content on the 25th] where we will be able to host videos and art that have been donated by the Icelandic creative scene,” she explains. “In the spirit of Seyðisfjörður, it’s a hodge-podge of wonderful creativity, with professionally recorded sessions from big name Icelandic musicians, but also, creative little videos that artists sort of whipped together on their iPhone just to find a way to support.”
A very positive response
“People have been really positive, it’s been wonderful, you know,” she says. “The main point of us doing this is we are supporting the community of Seyðisfjörður, so we have been in communication with people who are in the town, because we wanted to make sure that they were ready for it, that it was something they were willing to accept and something that they wanted. We didn’t want to be stepping on any toes and publicising something that is such a personal thing that all these people are dealing with.”
The team has been working in collaboration with the Icelandic Red Cross, where they set up a specific fund. All of the money will be used by the Red Cross, in collaboration with the town. They have also been in collaboration with the town, who will assemble a team to best allocate the funds for re-building the community.
“Even from people not directly affected by the crisis, they have so much love for the town” she says in closing. “It’s just amazing, the effect this small community in this tiny fjord has on so many people across the world, that they just come together and want to help it.”
Saman Fyrir Seyðisfjörð’s website will be streaming content from January 25th through January 31st, with videos from Vök, Bjartar Sveiflur, JFDR, Samantha Shay & Andrew Thomas Haung, and more. Readers are also encouraged to check out the links below:
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!