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New parents refuse to return to Iceland fishing town rocked by earthquake: ‘We need a stable home’

‘Now that we have the baby, we want to find a permanent home’

Barney Davis
In Reykjavík
Thursday 23 November 2023 20:51 GMT
Guðjón and his wife Ayça Erişkin
Guðjón and his wife Ayça Erişkin (Photo/Guðjón Sveinsson)

A Grindavik couple have refused to return to their home deeming it not safe enough to raise their new baby after the 5.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the Icelandic fishing town.

Guðjón and his wife Ayça Erişkin, who had their first child on Wednesday, said they had decided not to go back to Grindavik despite setting up their family home there.

Guðjón, a rock musician born and raised in the harbour town told The Independent: “While I fully understand people that intend to go back whenever possible and I do feel a strong urge to do so myself, we want to find a stable home for us and our newborn child.

“It’s clear that even though things would settle for now and people could go back, the same situation can arise essentially any time.”

He added: “We were really looking forward to raising our child there, as in other aspects it’s an incredibly child-friendly town.

“It has been quite stressful indeed, especially for my wife, as we were in the last stretch of pregnancy and had prepared our home.

“Now things are very uncertain, but we do have a roof over our head for now and have decided to fully focus on our child as we slowly start looking towards the future.”

“I think I will miss the community for sure, as well as the short distances between everything we needed.”

He shared a video taken from his parent’s home at the time of the 5.2 magnitude tremor, adding: “You can really hear the powers of the earth there.”

He said his new son will always be a Grindvíkingur even if he is not raised there.

“Of course he will be in his heart, it’s inevitable no matter what happens.”

(Getty Images)

It came as the Independent became one of the first journalists allowed back into the town since the earthquake opened up a chasm in the middle of the harbour town.

Children’s toys were left abandoned and playgrounds were split in two by the earthquake.

Icelandic authorities are now considering a plan to pump water on to lava in the event of a volcanic eruption.

Víðir Reynisson, Iceland’s head of civil protection and emergency management, said on Wednesday authorities and European experts would assess the possibility of using high volume pumping to cool down the lava to protect Grindavík and the Svartsengi geothermal plant, the main supplier of electricity and water to 30,000 residents on the Reykjanes peninsula.

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