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Island Vulnerability
http://www.islandvulnerability.org/faroes.html

Faroe Islands Faroe Islands' Flag


Island Vulnerability explores the challenges which isolated geographies face when dealing with risk and disasters by examining the processes which create, maintain, and could be used to reduce their vulnerability. This page provides information on vulnerability issues in the Faroe Islands:

Hungry puffin after a tough day on Mykineshólmur.

Hungry puffin after a tough day on Mykineshólmur.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Puffin Poetry
A preponderance of puffins (68 kb in PDF).
The puffin dance (7 kb in PDF).
Puffin Zumba (21 kb in PDF).
Puffin Pie (7 kb in PDF).

This page provides information specifically related to vulnerability (including risk, disasters, and sustainability), rather than general information such as travel details, a country profile, all government websites, or history. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive, but is indicative of the vulnerabilities which the Faroe Islands experience and how sustainable solutions might be developed and implemented. The publications listed reflect those in the library of Island Vulnerability.


Introduction to Vulnerability and Disaster Management in the Faroes

Funded by the U.K.'s National Trust as an Arkell Fellow, I travelled to the Faroe Islands from 7 July 2003 to 24 July 2003 to investigate sustainability and vulnerability issues for small island heritage. The material here is a snapshot of my findings. I can claim no expertise, as evidenced by the gaps and vague statements. I am interested in learning much more about the Faroes, particularly in the context of Island Vulnerability and I have plenty yet to learn. Therefore, please contact me with feedback and suggestions, including omissions or errors. The views here are my own and reflect those of neither the National Trust nor the Faroese who kindly provided me with information, resources, and ideas and whose hospitality made me feel welcome in a spectacular country where I would wish to spend much more time.

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark with a strong impetus towards independence. Approximately 46,000 people and 80,000 sheep share an area of 1,399 km2 over 18 main islands along with several smaller islets. Seventeen of the islands are currently inhabited, but Koltur and Stóra Dímun have only one family each. The main settlements are the capital Tórshavn, population 12,000, and Klaksvík, population 5,000. When an underwater tunnel linking Klaksvík with the road to Tórshavn is completed in a few years (the current plan is to open this tunnel in 2006), six of the islands will be linked by tunnels, bridges, or causeways. The only international airport in the Faroes, on Vágar, was linked to the Tórshavn road by an underwater tunnel which opened in December 2002. Otherwise, the inhabited islands can be reached by boat or helicopter.

The Faroes were mainly settled about 1,100 years ago by Norwegian Vikings who took over from Celtic settlers, mostly Irish monks, who had arrived approximately three centuries earlier. The population’s first language is Faroese, a Scandinavian language with strong resemblance to Old Norse, but children learn Danish and English in school. Emigration, particularly to Denmark, has drained the population and skill base, an ongoing phenomenon which peaked during an economic crisis from 1992 to 1996. Faroese society is undergoing further economic changes, principally due to the continuing decline of agriculture and fishing combined with the search for oil in the North Sea and efforts to substantially increase tourism. The expectation of this shift has resulted in intense debate, mainly related to how to stop oil revenue causing more societal problems than it solves. Nonetheless, Faroese are proud of their rich culture and national heritage and strongly seek to preserve it.

The Faroese Chain Dance, traditional a cappella singing and dancing.

The Faroese Chain Dance, traditional a cappella singing and dancing.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Traditional Faroese clothes, including the umbrella.

Traditional Faroese clothes, including the umbrella.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)


Examples of Vulnerability Issues


Some Events

  • 7 December 1941 A storm sinks the ship S.S. Sauternes killing all 25 crew.

    Fugloy from Viðareiði.

    Fugloy from Viðareiði, looking across the channel where the Sauternes sank.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

  • 21 December 1988 Extratropical cyclone causes severe wind damage.

  • January 1989 Extratropical cyclone uproots and topples many trees. Wind speeds are measured at 76 m/s. (273 km/h)

  • 1992 to 1996 Economic crisis, with dominant factors being low fish prices worldwide and the global recession (some commentators put the economic crisis years as being 1989 to 1994).

  • 3 August 1996 A Danish military aircraft crashed into a Faroese mountain killing all nine personnel aboard.

  • Late March 2000 Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) is identified in farmed salmon in Fuglafjørdur.

  • 18 September 2000 Storms and landslides, particularly in the northern islands.

    House hit by the Klaksvík landslide.

    In Klaksvík, a landslide hit this house breaking windows.
    (Copyright Norðlýsið 2000. Thank you to the photographer John William Joensen who kindly gave permission for the image to be reposted here.)

    Inside the house hit by the Klaksvík landslide.

    Inside the house hit by the Klaksvík landslide.
    (Copyright Norðlýsið 2000. Thank you to the photographer John William Joensen who kindly gave permission for the image to be reposted here.)

    The Klaksvík landslide, shortly after the event.

    The Klaksvík landslide, shortly after the event. The black house at the base of the landslide was hit.
    (Copyright Norðlýsið 2000. Thank you to the photographer John William Joensen who kindly gave permission for the image to be reposted here.)

    The scar left by the landslide.

    The scar left by the landslide. A kindergarten and retirement home have recently been built along the same street where the landslide hit.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

    Victor and Gunnleyg Danjalsson whose house was hit by the landslide.

    Victor and Gunnleyg Danjalsson whose house was hit by the landslide. Gunnleyg was trapped by the mud. Thank you to the Danjalssons for kindly sharing their story with me.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

  • 18 September 2002 The fishing boat "Herdis" KG 608 grounded on the east side of Borðoyarnes. The sole crew member was rescued and then the vessel sank.

  • 11 June 2003 Fire in the engine room of the fishing boat "Oknin". No one was injured and the boat was able to proceed under its own power.

  • 9 July 2003 More than 10,000 litres of diesel oil leaks into Skalafjordurin near Runavík from a Lithuanian ship.


Photographs

Boat by Kunoy's harbour.

Boat by Kunoy's harbour.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Oystercatcher in flight.

Oystercatcher in flight.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Lis Mortensen from the Faroes writes on 28 August 2003: "The splendid picture of the tjaldur is beautiful and provoking. It has got wool wrapped around its leg. This happens often and is caused by the fact that wool is littering the mountain side at the moment. The tjaldur will try to get rid of it, but the wool will become even tighter as time goes by and it may loose a leg or not survive at all."

Not your usual ro-ro vehicle ferry.

Not your usual ro-ro vehicle ferry.
Instead, it is lift-lift to and from Nólsoy.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Waterfall.

Waterfall.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Lost in the clouds.

Lost in the clouds.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Tórshavn, the Faroese capital.

Tórshavn, the Faroese capital.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

The mountain Skaelingur on Streymoy.

The mountain Skaelingur on Streymoy.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Boat races at Sandavágur.

Boat races at Sandavágur.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Victors of a boat race at Sandavágur.

Victors of a boat race at Sandavágur.

Victors of a boat race at Sandavágur.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Saksun's church.

Saksun's church.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Rill cascading to the sea.

Rill cascading to the sea.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

And what trip could be complete without your requisite Japanese tourists?

And what trip could be complete without your requisite Japanese tourists sporting a camcorder, lifejackets, and hardhats? Nice shades.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Puffins can't fly.  They'd look silly.

Puffins can't fly. They'd look silly.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

A preponderance of puffins (68 kb in PDF).
The puffin dance (7 kb in PDF).
Puffin Zumba (21 kb in PDF).
Puffin Pie (7 kb in PDF).

The town of Sumba.

The town of Sumba.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Summer sunset.

Summer sunset.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)


Some Resources in English

This list is not comprehensive, but is indicative of the work which has been done and the groups and people involved in issues related to the Faroe Islands' vulnerability. The publications listed reflect those in the library of Island Vulnerability.

Atlanticon. 2000. GEM Review June 2000. Atlanticon, Tórshavn, Faroes.

Dam, M. 2000. Integrated Ecological Monitoring in the Coastal Zone: Environmental Pollutants, Faroe Islands. Heilsufrøðiliga starvsstovan (Food and Environmental Agency), Tórshavn, Faroes.

"Faroese Culture -- The Way We See It". 1999. Ferðaráð Føroya, Tórshavn, Faroes. Information booklet.

FOÍB
Faroes Oil Industry Group
"The 12 oil companies that have been granted license for exploration drilling on the Faroese continental shelf have established a joint association, Faroese Oil Industry Group, FOÍB. The creation of FOÍB provides a single point of contact with the Faroese authorities and institutions on matters of broad policy and on general operational issues. FOÍB will ensure that jointly funded projects are managed and the result disseminated in an efficient and effective manner. FOÍB will pursue a full range of activities of relevance to the Faroes and the sub-committees in FOÍB covering: Environmental (including metocean), Engineering & Operations, Operational HSE, Commercial & Legal."

Granskingarverkætlanin fyri Økismenning
The Center for Local and Regional Development
"A research project in the social sciences...intended to advance the general cause of social science research in the Faroes."

Hovgaard, G. 2000. Globalisation, Embeddedness and Local Coping Strategies: A Comparative and Qualitative Study of Local Dynamics in Contemporary Social Change. PhD Dissertation, Department of Social Sciences, Roskilde University. Thesis no. 29/2001.

Hydrocarbon Planning Commission. 1993. Report of the Hydrocarbon Planning Commission to the Faroese Government: A Contribution to Planning a Strategy for Future Oil and Gas Exploration in the Faroe Islands. Hydrocarbon Planning Commission, Tórshavn, Faroes.

Hydrocarbon Planning Commission. 1997. Preparation for Oil Exploration: Report of the Hydrocarbon Planning Commission to the Faroese Government. Hydrocarbon Planning Commission, Tórshavn, Faroes.

Jakobsen, L.P., K. Mølsted, and K. Christensen. 2003. "Occurrence of Cleft Lip and Palate in the Faroe Islands and Greenland From 1950 to 1999". The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 426-430.

James, A., I. Kelman, T. Tebano, and M. Skinner. 2004. “Principles for Island Development: Ownership, Identity and Honesty”. Small Islands Voice Global Forum, 17 February 2004. http://www.sivglobal.org/?read=53

Lawson, I.T., M.J. Church, T.H. McGovern, S.V. Arge, J. Woollet, K.J. Edwards, F.J. Gathorne-Hardy, A.J. Dugmore, G. Cook, K.-A. Mairs, A.M. Thomson, and G. Sveinbjarnardóttir. 2005. "Historical Ecology on Sandoy, Faroe Islands: Palaeoenvironmental and Archaeological Perspectives". Human Ecology, vol. 33, no. 5 (October), pp. 651-684.

"Koltur -- A Faroese Island". Information booklet. Neither publisher nor date given.

Lindström, G., H. Wingfors, M. Dam, B. v. Bavel. 1999. "Identification of 19 Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in Long-Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas) from the Atlantic". Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, vol. 36, no. 3 (April), pp. 355-363.

Løgmansskrivstovan. 2002. The Faroe Islands: A North Atlantic Perspective on Sustainable Development. Løgmansskrivstovan (The Prime Minister’s Office), Tórshavn, Faroes.

McCallum Petterson Financial Diagnostics. 1999 (October). Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Progress: An Optimal Fiscal and Legal Framework to Promote Economic Growth and Investment in the Faroe Islands. McCallum Petterson Financial Diagnostics, Wellington, New Zealand.

Ministry of Fisheries. 2003. "Emergency Response Notification of Pollution or Other Leakage". Information cards, A4 size and wallet size.

MRCC Tórshavn
Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center.

The outside of Faroe Islands' MRCC.

The inside of Faroe Islands' MRCC.

Outside and inside Faroe Islands' Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2003.)

Santer, R., M. Kinner, U. Steuerwald, S. Kjaergaard, F. Skovby, H. Simonsen, W.L. Shaiu, Y.T. Chen, R. Schneppenheim, and J. Schaub. 2001. "Molecular genetic basis and prevalence of glycogen storage disease type IIIA in the Faroe Islands". European Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 388-391.

Stoltenberg, M., A. Larsen, K. Kemp, D. Bloch, and P. Weihe. 2003. "Autometallographic tracing of mercury in pilot whale tissues in the Faroe Islands". International Journal of Circumpolar Health, vol. 62, no. 2 (May), pp. 182-9.


Contact Island Vulnerability.


The material on the Island Vulnerability website is provided as only an information source. Neither definitive advice nor recommendations are implied. Each person or organisation accessing the website is responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed and are strongly advised to verify all information. No liability will be accepted for loss or damage incurred as a result of using the material on this website. The appearance of external links on this website does not constitute endorsement of the organisations, information, products, or services contained on that external website.