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Remembering European chaos from Icelandic Volcano
As Spring arrived in the UK, on 21st March 2010, a dormant Icelandic Volcano began to stir. Having laid dormant for 200 years the volcano began to rip apart a field of ice. Lava was spewed way into the air near the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in the south of the island.
Iceland rubbed her hands in glee at first. This volcanic rumbling made for a huge upsurge in its toruist trade. Flights were jam packed as would be volcano watchers poured into this small island.
I guess they should have known it was too good to last.
By 15th April 2010 this same volcano was continuing to rumble but had received little press attention. That was set to change.
With a full throttle eruption the volcanic ash cloud gathered force stopping flights to Iceland and necessitating the movement of people living close by.
If only this were the end of the matter.
By Friday 16th April the volcanic ash had risen high above Iceland but was affecting air space around Europe.
The UK closed its air space, initially in Scotland and then across the country due to safety concerns. The news showed deserted airports and air traffic ground to a halt. First reports implied that flights would only be affected for a few hours and as some of the dust cleared the odd flight got through. However, on the whole the UK and many parts of Europe has been flight free for a few days now.
Today is Monday 19th April and chaos has ensued.
Of course, normally the effects of such an event in another country would not affect so many different nationalities. High pressure though meant that the potentially damaging cloud of volcanic ash was sitting with its full weight over the UK, Norway, Spain, Germany and France. Some countries have had limited flights but most none at all.
All of this has meant that:-
- Airlines have lost millions of pounds.
- Holidaymakers have been unable to travel abroad by plane or return home.
- Stranded abroad people have spent vast amounts of money to survive or get home by hell or high water.
- There has been more flight chaos over the UK and Europe than in the aftermath of 9/11.
- Concerns over the safety of people on the ground have been raised.
The BBC news reported that veteran actor and comedian John Cleese, who was left stranded in Norway, spent £3000 on a taxi to enable him to complete his journey to the UK.
The ferries from Dover to France have been busier that ever as travellers turned to whatever means of transport they could get. Even some British warships have been mobilised.
Television chat shows, and the like, have been changing their guest lists to accommodate celebrities stranded in the UK who have replaced those unable to appear.
The NO FLY decision was partly Governmental and now many airlines are asking for compensation. Most such companies have lost millions each day of the crisis. With the UK government and many governments abroad struggling to balance the books such a costly exercise must be bad news.
One thing in all of this, that is notable, is that there has been little reporting about the actual volcano eruption itself. Obviously the news has centered on the lack of flights and travel chaos.
Today there have been reports that flights to test the air space for safety have been carried out. It is claimed that the government and aviation authorities overreacted, and that the air space is safe. It is not worth risking one disaster though, is it?
Latest reports have stated that more flights will resume on Tuesday 20th April 2010. European air space has been divided in order to ease traffic flow and only fly in safe zones.
That said though, nothing is certain.
The wind and weather could change or the Icelandic Volcano could blow at full throttle again. All of this just proves how helpless and at the mercy of elements, we are. We may have advanced scientifically in leaps and bounds but we can only do what the elements allow us to.
20th April 2010
Popping to our local post office, in order to send a parcel to the South of England, made me think of the various implications of the Icelandic Volcano eruption. The assistant could not offer guaranteed next day service, due to the transport disruption. Supermarkets and retailers are already assessing the implications to trade and the stock of their shelves. Any shortages will, of course, no doubt be exacerbated by panic buying.
The cost to industry is already staggering. Today the press have reported that fresh volcanic eruptions are causing more chaos. As yet the volcanic ash is not as potentially dangerous as last week, but it could soon be.
In the UK some flights have resumed from Scottish airports but it looks as if airports in London will remain closed.
The knock on effect, of many UK citizens being virtually stranded abroad, looks set to close some schools and affect many services. Employers have been asked to treat sympathetically any workers unable to return to work.
With global financial problems all of this is dire economic news. The export and import trade of many countries will be severely hit.
22nd April 2010
Today it finally seems as if things are getting back to normal. Volcanoes are unpredictable and this means that it is impossible to determine what the future may bring.
For now, travellers are still attempting to return to their home countries, but at least new travellers are being able to fly abroad. It would seem that travel companies and passengers, alike, will be hoping to secure some sort of compensation. Their chances are not certain but either way more financial problems look to be on the horizon.