Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 12:20 UK

Hundreds flee flood in Iceland volcano zone

Flooded coast road near volcano, 14 Apr 10
Flooding has cut the coast road and threatens isolated farms

Fresh flooding has hit areas around an erupting volcano in Iceland, prompting the second evacuation of local people in 48 hours.

About 700 people were evacuated to the small town of Hvolsvollur from isolated rural homes near the volcano, which is under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.

Flooding has cut the coastal road from the area to the capital Reykjavik, to the north-west.

A plume of ash has spread across northern Europe from the volcano.

Icelandic media report that the eruption is continuing, but there have been no earth tremors since Thursday evening.

The level of the glacial Markarfljot river - swollen with ice and mud - has risen, threatening a bridge.


ABC's Neil Karlinsky reports from the base of the volcano

A local resident, Gina Christie, told the BBC that diggers had been used to break up the coastal road in places to let flood waters surge through and prevent the bridge from being swept away.

"The damage to farms and the main ring road is very extensive," she said.

State television told people in the area to leave their homes urgently on Thursday when it was clear that more of the glacier was breaking up.

Volcanic ash has fallen in parts of eastern Iceland and there are fears that ash could spread to Reykjavik if the wind direction changes.

Local people have been told to wear masks if the ash falls, Hannah Andrews, a dairy farmer near the volcano, told the BBC's Europe Today programme. She said she had moved her cows indoors.


According to Ms Christie, the risk is that livestock "breathe in the ash and it settles in their lungs and after a while they just cannot breathe, and die".

There are fears of an even bigger eruption if the vulcanism sets off the nearby Katla volcano, which is also covered in ice.

Gunnar Gestur Geirmundsson, a lorry driver at the capital's Keflavik airport, said US-bound jets were still leaving Iceland, but flights to the UK had been cancelled. "We are working at a reduced capacity," he told the BBC.

Air traffic has been severely disrupted across northern Europe by the volcanic ash.

Airspace has been closed or flights cancelled in countries including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and France.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific