A man living in the path of a soon-to-erupt volcano has been forced to abandon his dream home with his family, with no promise they will be able to return.
Earthquakes began in the Reykjanes peninsula last week, with hundreds a day, and there are warnings that the Fagradalsfjall volcano will erupt within days.
Grindavík has been evacuated, with experts warning an eruption from the magma tunnel just 500m below the surface could destroy the town or lead to extensive ash clouds.
Hans Vera, 56, has lived in Grindavík with his family for the last 24 years. He said they have felt some earthquakes over the years but nothing of this scale.
He said: “We’re quite experienced with them but this is a different calibre.
READ MORE ‘Unholy sounds’ heard as Iceland braces for destructive volcanic eruption[LATEST]
“When the earthquakes started last week there was a period from 12am to 4am one night where the house was shaking, constantly rocking. So frequent with no rest between.
“Then on Friday, we came from work in town (Reykjavík) and they’d started again, earthquakes every few minutes.”
He added: “We said ‘we’re not gonna do this’ and went back into town for dinner and hoped they’d slow down by the time we were back.
“But on our way home it had got worse. We drove over four cracks in the road which was concerning and then they closed the road, so we decided to stay in Reykjavík with relatives.”
The family – Hans, his wife Sólveig Thorbergsdóttir, 59, his stepson Sturla Hrafn Sólveigarson, 31, his daughter-in-law Anja Sukhorukova, 35, and his grandson Ísarr Bjartur Sturluson, 5 – left their house with only necessities.
When they did the house was shaking so much they couldn’t even sit down, which made them laugh.
Hans, who is originally from Belgium, said: “We were saying ‘What the hell is happening? We have to get out of here’.
Latest travel advice for Iceland as country hit by earthquakes[LATEST]
Huge crack opens up in Iceland town as residents evacuated over volcano fears[REPORT]
Experts fear town of 4k people about to be wiped out by huge eruption in Iceland[INSIGHT]
- Support fearless journalism
- Read The Daily Express online, advert free
- Get super-fast page loading
“My stepson is in the rescue team and stayed behind to help and take care of our cats. But when we got the call about the evacuation on Saturday he had to come join us.”
“He packed more stuff into his car. He got all the old pictures, things with sentimental value and the computer with photos on it. And we went back on Monday and emptied the house as much as we could.”
He added: “Now, we’re living hour to hour, day to day. We don’t know anything. It’s all one big question mark. And the uncertainty is awful.
“We want it to erupt so that we can know what comes next. It’s just very strange and really sad.”
Hans said the worst part is their house being in the balance. He and his wife have been working on the property since 1999 and have made it into their dream home.
“We’re both artists and I’m a carpenter so we’ve done a lot of the work ourselves. It’s so beautiful, the ocean is 400m away and we have views of the mountains. It’s a total paradise, we love it.
“It’s just sad. I don’t even care about the money, we have millions of memories there. There’s no traffic or crime and there’s lots of space.
“People ask why we live near an active volcano but everyone in this area is taking a chance. To me, it’s like saying you won’t drive a car in case you crash.
“Humans only work on our life span but volcanoes work on much longer, so an eruption could have happened tomorrow or it could happen in 100 years. It’s just bad timing.”
Hans’ family home is east of Grindavík and they are hoping that when the volcano erupts the lava runs towards the sea, leaving their home undamaged.
He said: “But as bad as it is, it’s not bad when you compare it to what’s happening in Ukraine or Gaza. People have been very kind and helpful, offering clothes, toys, food, shelter. It’s nice to know people are supporting you.
“It’s in the Icelandic nature to be flexible, even the plants bend for wind rather than snap. We’ll be okay in the end.”
The volcano in the peninsula was dormant for eight centuries but became active in 2021 with a minor eruption and earthquakes.
Source: Read Full Article