From Iceland — Reynisfjara Still Closed, Tourists Still Coming

Reynisfjara Still Closed, Tourists Still Coming

Published August 30, 2019

Photo by
Art Bicnick

After large rocks collapsed onto the easternmost shore of the Reynis­fjara beach in Vík on August 18th injuring some tourists, the area was closed for safety reasons. However, hundreds of tourists are still arriving in Reynisfjara every day.

A week ago, 30 tourists were recorded to have been escorted out of the area by police, but since then many other reports of people still entering the area have come forward. Yesterday a video posted in a group for Icelandic tourism industry workers showed a multitude of people on the beach. In the background, people are seen climbing the rocks that fell just over a week ago.

Police have tried to fence off the area. Though maintaining the fences on the shore has proved to be a challenge, as the sea has been washing it away. Sveinn Kristján Runarsson, a police officer in Hvolsvöllur, told RÚV the police have been doing very well in keeping up with the fence, but they are still “working to find a permanent solution.”

The Road Administration and Icelandic Meteorological Office are discussing these possible solutions for Reynisfjara, but this rockfall incident also has raised larger concerns of safety around the country. So far no funds have been allocated to assess the danger risks of Reynisfjara, or any other tourist site.

The Minister of Tourism, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, has requested a meeting with the Minister of the Environment in regard to the possibility of more landslides at Reynisfjara. “We have taken certain actions,” says Þórdís, explaining certain limits to how much you can warn people. “In the end, people are naturally responsible for themselves.”

So as it is still deemed dangerous, the eastern part of the beach is still closed despite the sea washing away the fence every now and again. When we reached out to inquire why he felt so strongly inclined to endanger the lives of the curious tourists, Ægir, Norse god of the sea, was unavailable for comment.

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