From Iceland — More Than 100 Horses Dead in December Storm Aftermath

More Than 100 Horses Dead in December Storm Aftermath

Published January 3, 2020

Inês Pereira

In December, a cyclone and snowstorm swept the northwest of Iceland. The weather caught a lot of people by surprise, and a lot more animals unprotected. Consequently, 100 horses died in the short 3 day period of the storm, RÚV reports, the highest number in decades.

Back in December, The Grapevine reported on the story of a farmer who had to, with only the help of some neighbors and a tractor, dig in the snow to save his horses who were completely submerged in snow. Just like him, other farmers saw their animals suffering from the amount of snow the storm brought between the 10th and the 12th of December.

A total of 100 horses were killed, in 46 farms across West Húnavatn, East Húnavatn and Skagajförður, all in northwest Iceland, where the storm hit hardest. It bears emphasising that responsibility can’t be attributed to infrastructure or preparation, with all the unexpected aggravation of weather conditions. Due to the weather, horses lied down to protect themselves, and eventually froze in place. Being that they are heavy animals, added onto with accumulated snow and ice on their coats, they would’ve found it impossible to then battle the snow that had accumulated and reached around two meters height.

The cyclone caused a lot of damage, leaving homes without electricity, especially in rural communities, which waited the longest to get their electricity back and saw an average of two horses per farm being killed by the weather in the northwest area.

UPDATE: Additional information was added to this article to reflect where in Iceland the horses lost to the storm were.

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