Dýrfinna & Hundasveitin / Social Media
Volunteers and pet owners gathered to search for their four-legged friends in Grindavík, Iceland, after an emergency evacuation of the town.
ICELAND – A little comfort for the inhabitants of Grindavík, Iceland, still threatened by the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano. Several charities announced this Friday, November 17 that the pets, whose owners were forced to abandon them on site during the evacuation of the city during the night from Friday to Saturday, are now safe and sound.
On the first day of the evacuation, the police in Suðurnes, the Grindavík region, decided that “ at the moment”, “livestock and domestic animals would not be rescued from a defined danger zone due to the Reykjanes earthquakes”, as the Icelandic Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management then indicated on Facebook.
The authorities had assured that it would be possible for residents to return on Saturday, in order to collect their cats, dogs and other furballs, most of whom are like a member of the family. For security reasons, they finally had to wait until Monday before being able to set foot again, for a limited time, in Grindavík.
“It’s not an easy decision to make”the authorities then declared, “It carries risks and it is therefore very important that everyone involved carefully obeys all instructions from the police who are leading this operation and respects the deadlines that will be set.”
“Only four cats, nine fish and four parrots left”
Since this authorization, animal rescue associations have been hard at work: “fifty-three cats have been rescued so far”, they tell SkyNews. But that’s not all, “Since the evacuation, a total of 289 animals have been saved, from frogs to horses…”counts the director of the local animal shelter Kattholt with the British channel. “There are only four cats, nine fish and four parrots (canaries) left in distress”she adds.
On X (formerly Twitter), the Dýrfinna & Hundasveitin association shared several photos of its volunteers in the field. “The actions of recent days have led to a great fight for animals. The owners and residents of Grindavík have been very involved in evacuating them, with excellent results”she greets.
Like the 4,000 evacuated residents, animals are also threatened by the volcano’s eruption. “We are very concerned for all the homes and infrastructure in the area”, Vidir Reynisson, head of civil protection and emergency management in Iceland, told AFP. The hundreds of seismic tremors in recent days have caused several cracks, including one more than 15 kilometers long and which continues to widen.
“The probability of an eruption remains high”, estimated the Icelandic meteorological office in its bulletin on Wednesday. Seismic activity nevertheless remained stable for four days. It is impossible at this time to predict the exact date and intensity of the volcanic eruption.
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