26.5.2011 -

South Iceland Emerges From the Ashes

Clean-up operations following the eruption in Grímsvötn are well under way. Most of the ejected ash fell in a small area South and Southeast of the volcano, but locals expect to be able to resume life as usual in a matter of days.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism, Katrin Juliusdottir, has extended a hand in the clean-up effort, quite literally, as she and her staff, headed out to the affected area this morning to partake in the operation. “There is only so much the government can do from Reykjavik,” Juliusdottir said. “It is very clear that what is really needed right now is people on the scene, helping to clean up – so that is exactly what we’ve decided to do. We are used to dealing with this kind of situation here in Iceland, and there is a overwhelming support from around the country.”

Roads in the area are once a again open for traffic, but as a safety measure, the roads had been closed since Sunday. It is not yet safe to approach the crater, but tour operators are already making plans to provide tours of the area. Eyjafjallajökull, the site of the 2010 eruption, is one of the most popular tours on offer today and an Eyjafjallajokull museum opened on the eruption’s first anniversary.

The Grímsvötn volcano is located with-in the Vatnajökull National Park - the biggest national park in Europe. “The situation is much better than we anticipated. It was completely black with ash here on Sunday, but now the colour is coming back into the forest and the birds have started to sing,” Gudmundur Ogmundsson, a ranger at the national park. 

Grímsvötn volcano has been showing little signs of life recently, and scientists believe the eruption has come to an end, although it can not be declared officially over just yet. Nevertheless, Iceland is open for business.