Can't Guarantee Volcano Evacuation Warnings - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Can’t Guarantee Volcano Evacuation Warnings

Published March 14, 2017

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Regulation of Post and Telecommunication (RPT) in Iceland has announced that they cannot guarantee timely evacuation messages in the event of an eruption at Katla volcano, reports RÚV.

Katla volcano has been quite unsettled as of late, meaning contingency plans are being reviewed.

In the event of an eruption at Katla volcano, an emergency text message is sent to residents in the surrounding area, prompting people to evacuate. However, the RPT worry that as some residents will only have around fifteen minutes to evacuate, that there will not be sufficient warning.

In the past, when Katla has erupted, it has triggered flash glacial floods with – at times- catastrophic consequences.

Three areas are especially vulnerable to the flash floods, Mýrdalssandur, Sólheimajökull and Markarfljótur. The people of Sólheimajökull are in the most precarious position, say representatives of the RPT, as they will only have 15 minutes to evacute and residents have already lodged complaints about bad mobile reception.

“It’s impossible to guarantee that everyone will get the message,” said Þorleifur Jónasson with the RPT, though measures are being taken to improve mobile reception.

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