From Iceland — Eruption Trail Reopens But Children Under 12 Are Banned

Eruption Trail Reopens But Children Under 12 Are Banned

Published August 10, 2022

Photo by
Emma Ledbetter

The eruption trails to Meradalir have reopened after several days of weather closures. However, the police in Suðurnes have forbidden children younger than 12 from hiking to the eruption site after a series of incidents where search and rescue personnel had to evacuate groups of visitors.

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Many people are unhappy with the decision and have taken to Twitter to disagree, saying some children are in better physical condition than adults, reports Vísir.

Beyond Twitter, some are questioning the legality of the ban, including Andrés Ingi Jónsson, member of Parliament for the Pirates.

“The Civil Protection Act is quite clear that there is a general authority to close areas if that is what is needed to ensure people’s safety. And of course the police will do it if, for example, the weather conditions up there call for it. But things get complicated when you condition the closure to some groups. It’s just the nature of discrimination,” Andrés told Vísir.

Article 23 of the Civil Protection Act reads:

VIII. chapter Powers in a time of crisis. Article 23 General instructions in times of danger. In a moment of danger, the police chief is authorized to decide to take over traffic control, prohibit staying or traffic in certain areas, such as by fencing off or obstructing traffic through them, including certain properties, confiscate dangerous items, refer remove or remove people.

Andrés said the decision to ban children under 12 seems arbitrary and the police might be interpreting the law more broadly than it is intended.

The eruption trail has been closed since Sunday due to weather conditions. Search and rescue crews used this time to improve the “A” route and rest.

Fréttablaðið reports officers stopped cars near the parking lot to ask drivers about their intended destination during the closure. Anyone planning to go to the eruption was told to turn around. Police have been monitoring the trails with surveillance cameras because a number of people have ignored the closure or lied about their destination to get to the eruption.

Rescue workers added stakes to mark the trail last night, with the hopes that fewer people would get lost, according to Fréttablaðið.

Scientists met to review the progress of the eruption and found it has been stable over the last few days. Thus, officials say the eruption could last a long time, reports Vísir.

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