Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 08REYKJAVIK102, ICELAND: GOVERNMENT GETS FLYING COLORS FOR 6.3 EARTHQUAKE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08REYKJAVIK102.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08REYKJAVIK102 2008-06-09 18:06 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXRO4714
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRK #0102 1611835
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091835Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3671
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHCAA/GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000102 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/NB, S/ES-O/CMS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SENV PGOV TPHY ASEC IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: GOVERNMENT GETS FLYING COLORS FOR 6.3 EARTHQUAKE 
RESPONSE 
 
REF: Ops Ctr-EUR/NB-Emb Reykjavik telecon 29 May 08 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale 
occurred in southwest Iceland on May 29. The epicenter was near the 
town of Selfoss, where light property damage was reported as well as 
minor injuries. The government response to the earthquake was met 
with public praise and approval. With previous newspaper headlines 
being critical of the government, the positive response was a much 
needed development. End Summary. 
 
2.  (U) On Thursday May 29, at 15:45 local time, an earthquake 
measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck southwestern Iceland.  The 
epicenter of the earthquake was a few kilometers north of the town 
of Selfoss, 50 kilometers east of the capital Reykjavik.  The 
earthquake was felt strongly in Reykjavik and in much of the rest of 
the country.  A series of aftershocks followed, but none of the 
aftershocks registered above 4.0 on the Richter scale.  On Monday, 
June 2, an aftershock of 4.5 occurred, the largest since May 29. 
According to press reports, geologists at the Meteorological 
Institute of Iceland do not expect any more significant earthquakes 
in the near future.  The May 29 earthquake was the largest since a 
magnitude 6.5 earthquake was registered in 2000. 
 
3.  (U) No one was killed or seriously injured in the quake, but up 
to 30 people are reported to have sought medical treatment fo 
broken bones and scratches.  Property damage was widespread, but 
light. There was some structural damage to residential homes and 
other buildings, and a handful of old farmhouses were destroyed. 
Numerous residents reported damage to possessions inside their 
homes.  Local authorities deemed twenty-four houses in the area to 
be unfit for habitation several days after the earthquake.  Some 
roads in the area were reported to have split open and some bridges 
were closed to traffic. 
 
4.  (U) The Government reacted quickly;  Prime Minister Geir Haarde 
said in a speech in the Althingi that same day that the government 
would do everything possible to help those affected by the 
earthquake and placed a priority on ensuring the safety of the 
affected area's residents.  Minister of Justice Bjorn Bjarnason, who 
oversees the police and emergency response services, appeared on 
television to outline the government's response plan. 
 
5.  (U) PM Haarde and Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir visited 
the affected areas together on May 30 and met with local officials. 
The PM announced the establishment of a service center to expedite 
work on insurance claims and the government will allocate ISK 100 
million ($1.3 million) for unforeseen costs state institutions may 
incur.  Observers noted that the civil defense apparatus worked much 
better this time than the earthquakes in 2000, and credited lessons 
learned from that experience.  The National Police Commissioner was 
very pleased with how the national TETRA communications system 
(purchased from Motorola in 2006) worked in the aftermath of the 
earthquake.  The only major fault found with the response plans was 
the lack of the TETRA system at the Selfoss hospital, which was 
sorely needed when cell phone reception was cut.  In response, PM 
Haarde announced plans to provide all health institutions with TETRA 
communications devices. 
 
6.  (U) Comment:  The Icelandic Government's response to the quake 
is deserving of praise and has been well-received by the public. 
This is welcome news for Haarde and Gisladottir after the economic 
travails of the last six months.  Some observers wryly noted that 
the quake, coming on the Althingi's last day of business before 
summer recess, helpfully pushed the opposition's criticism off the 
front pages.  End comment. 
 
van Voorst