A new volcanic eruption has started outside of Grindavík, Iceland. Lava has flowed into the town, causing several houses to catch fire.
In December, the area was hit by a powerful volcanic eruption after strong earthquakes. Lava flowed from a fissure about 3.5 kilometers long, but did not reach Grindavík.
Another volcanic eruption has now occurred near the city and was discovered early Sunday morning after about 200 small earthquakes. The lava flow was under control, but in the afternoon a new fissure was discovered closer to the city.
The town had been evacuated once before the first eruption and had to be evacuated again, this time the night before the latest eruption.
Dikes built around the town diverted some of the lava, but a new fissure appeared inside the protected area. In the afternoon the lava reached Grindavík and set several buildings on fire.
– Today is a black day for Grindavík and today is a black day for all of Iceland, but the sun will rise again. Together we will deal with this shock and whatever may come. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, said Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, according to Icelandic state broadcaster RUV.
The Civil Protection Agency says it will look at ways to strengthen existing dikes and see if they can stop the lava that continues to flow through the city. They are also urging people not to go and watch the eruption, saying it is too risky and dangerous.
– No one is going into Grindavík until we are absolutely sure that it will be OK, says Víðir Reynisson, head of the Civil Defense.