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Seyðisfjörður mudslide risk area expanded

15.10.2021 - 12:18
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 Mynd: Rúnar Snær Reynisson - RÚV
All houses along Botnahlíð in Seyðisfjörður are now deemed to be in the highest-risk area for landslides, according to the updated risk assessment presented to local residents yesterday.

The previous risk assessment was approved by the responsible minister last year, several months before the mudslides that hit the town in December. It was immediately obvious a new, updated risk assessment was required. “The main conclusions of that risk assessment stand, but the risk area expands and is now maybe one row of houses lower into the conurbation in some places. The biggest changes are around the big mudslide where it fell. The ground is less stable around the big landslip scar and there is believed to be more risk of landslides there. Elsewhere, there are smaller changes, though some, and the biggest of them is that the perceived risk of large slips is now also between waterways whereas the former assessment mostly identified the risk of large landslides around waterways,” says Magni Hreinn Jónsson, the head of landslide and avalanche risk assessment at the Met Office. 

All houses along Botnahlíð are in the highest-risk area in the new risk assessment, as well as two houses furthest out on Bröttuhlíð in risk area C, and houses to the furthest end of Austurvegur. A total of 20 houses have moved into area C. 

“The municipality is responsible for protecting houses in area C. But that does not change that there were houses in area C, so it was clear there was a need to protect all houses in Botnahlíð. So the outcome is the same and work has been underway since 2020 to design protections. The C line moves slightly closer to the freezing plant but it is almost entirely in area B. The outer part of the building is in area C but was also there in the previous risk assessment. It is possible to operate business premises in area C and it is not mandatory to protect them,” Magni Hreinn explains. 

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