Last spring’s Eyjafjallajökull eruption will end up costing Iceland about 800 million ISK, when all is said and done, and additional costs might be incurred later on.
The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano last April shut down air traffic across much of Europe, costing possibly billions of euros in cancelled flights and lost tourist revenue. While Iceland, like other European nations, already was hit with its share of losses from the eruption, the volcano is about to cost the country considerably more.
A budget bill proposed by parliament has set aside a total of about 800 million ISK for separate items related to the damage done by the volcano. The largest portions will be given to the Icelandic Rescue Squad (190 million), road repair (117 million) and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (116 million). The Weather Bureau and the police will also be receiving 78 million and 54 million respectively.
The argument put forth in the bill is that the Rescue Squad receives the high figure in order to dispense those funds to individuals in the area – mostly farmers – who have had to suffer losses due to damage done by ashfall, both to property and livestock. Road repairs also require significant funding, as melting glacial ice on top of the volcano resulted in a flash flood of the river Markarfljót, which ended up destroying a significant portion of the national highway.
While the rescue squad is the largest single recipient of volcano repair funds, the tourist industry as a whole will be receiving a total of 350 million ISK, to make up for cancelled hotel reservations after flights ceased, and after the president erroneously told Sky News that a second eruption was imminent.