‘This could be last time we see our home’ – couple evacuate after earthquake

A man who evacuated from a town in Iceland after earthquakes put the region on alert for a volcanic eruption said he fears he might never see his home again.

Caitlin McLean, from Scotland, was visiting her boyfriend, Gisli Gunnarsson, in Grindavik when they were forced to flee his home at midnight on Friday, packing only a few essential items, to stay with Mr Gunnarsson’s mother in Reykjavik.

Police evacuated Grindavik after seismic activity in the area moved south towards the town, with a corridor of magma, or semi-molten rock, now thought to be extending under the community, Iceland’s Meteorological Office said.

Ms McLean, 34, captured the moment the furniture and light fixtures shook violently in Mr Gunnarsson’s home on Friday.

“At around four on Friday, (the earthquakes) just started being non-stop. Just constant big quakes for hours,” Mr Gunnarsson, 29, told the PA news agency

The music composer, who was born and raised in Grindavik, described the situation as “grim”.

Earthquake
Gisli Gunnarsson and Caitlin McLean captured the moment their whole house shook during an earthquake (Caitlin McLean/PA)

He said: “First and foremost, the thought that you might never see your home town ever again, that’s tough.

“We all rushed out of (Grindavik) so quickly, in a matter of hours, so we didn’t really think at the time that might possibly be the last time we see our home, so that’s been difficult.

“It’s a pretty grim situation at the moment.”

Ms McLean, an artist, added that the situation has been “difficult” for people to understand.

She told PA: “I think it’s difficult for the residents to really process that.

“I think everyone’s still a wee bit shocked and it’s not really sinking in there is a possibility they’re not going to be able to go home.”

Ms McLean has urged volcano enthusiasts to avoid the area and “be respectful” to people whose homes have been affected.

She said: “I would definitely say there’s been quite a lot of people wanting to fly over (to Iceland), like people that are interested in volcanoes and lava.

“They’re trying to keep tourists away because there’s been people already trying to fly drones over the town.

“I understand for a lot of people this is a big spectacle, but these people are losing their homes potentially, so just to be respectful.”

Mr Gunnarsson said the earthquakes on Friday were the worst he has experienced.

“Not even the search and rescue are really going (to the town) at the moment.

“The uncertainty is too high and it’s ready to pop at any moment, the eruption,” he said.

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions, said on Thursday it would close until November 16 due to the risk of an eruption.