Iceland // The West Fjords //

The Súðavík avalanche

Spend any time in Súðavík and you’ll soon spot that its houses are grouped into two distinct areas. The majority are located in the south of the village, but a handful remain in the northern half, closest to Ísafjörður. In January 1995, this tight-knit community was hit by tragedy when an avalanche engulfed the northern part of the village, roaring down from the precipitous slopes of Súðavíkurhlíð, the steep mountain that rears up behind Súðavík, and leaving fourteen people dead. Since then, all new buildings are constructed in the southern part of the village, away from the avalanche risk, while those in the northern half are uninhabited during the winter months. Beside the main road, close to the entrance to the village from Ísafjörður, a stone monument has been raised in memory of those who lost their lives.