‘Well, this is Iceland, sorry about that’: PM shrugs off 5.6-magnitude earthquake during interview

Iceland’s prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was interrupted during a press interview when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit the country on Tuesday.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office said the quake struck at 13:43 local time (17:43 CET) near Krysuvik, about 35 kilometres south of Reykjavik.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but the tremors briefly interrupted a parliamentary session in the capital city.

“This was the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced,” tweeted Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, alongside a picture of a fallen ceiling tile.

MPs could be seen freezing for several seconds during live images on Icelandic television, and their work was suspended for a quarter of an hour.

Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, MP for the Pirate Party, was pictured rushing from the podium, while speaker Steingrímur Sigfússon urged others to “just sit calmly”.

Meanwhile, PM Jakobsdottir was speaking during a live Zoom event hosted by the Washington Post when she paused mid-sentence at the time the earthquake struck.

“Oh my god, there is an earthquake,” she said looking around the room (at 13 minutes into the interview), before adding, “well, this is Iceland, sorry about that.”

After finishing the interview, she tweeted that she hoped everyone was feeling “good and steady”.

In February, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern was also interrupted by an earthquake during a live television interview.

Authorities have warned residents in western Iceland that more quakes could follow, but scientists have not noted increased volcanic activity in the region.

Iceland’s civil protection agency said that inspections will take place to check for potential consequences.

The volcanic island nation of Iceland is one of the most seismically active in the world, though most quakes are small and do little damage.

The Alþingi – Iceland’s National Parliament – was founded in 930 and is the oldest surviving in the world.

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