Panic strikes as earthquake rattles Saudi, Qatar, UAE
P A Hameed Padubidri
Daijiworld Media Network - Riyadh
Riyadh, Apr 10: A mild temblor that occurred at around 3.15 pm (Saudi time) on Tuesday April 9 shook the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, causing a lot of panic and apprehensions amongst the people. Many felt the light tremors, especially in their office buildings. Various companies in Dammam and Al-Khobar, the twin cities of the eastern region, ordered the red alert so that their employees could vacate their workplaces at once. While a majority of the people working in companies left for their homes, some were seen standing on the side roads and nearby places.
Ibrahim Moideen from Uchila-Udupi, a senior resident in Khobar told Daijiworld, "I was there in my company in Khobar with other colleagues at around 2.50 pm and we were altogether alerted to evacuate the building in an emergency due to the quake. We rushed out of our office building, which is situated a mile away from the corniche of the Arabian Sea and left for home."
Some friends in Dammam and Khobar described the startled situation in Dammam and Khobar and said, "A large number of expatriates and citizens gathered near the Sheiko Building in Dammam, which is the downtown and commercial hub of the city; they seemed to be in a sense of extreme fright due to the minor trembles that took place in some of the buildings near Sheiko; some people felt the light shakes in this area as if someone from behind had rattled it for pranks, but, by God’s grace, there was no casualty.”
The scenario in Khobar was a little different than in Dammam. Several places in this city experienced trembles that put many on edge. Some of the high-towering buildings like Juffali tower, which is situated near the famous “Silver Tower” and others were affected by the strike of the earthquake. Although no major casualties have been reported, the windows and ceilings of a few buildings including Juffali tower were slightly damaged and walls cracked. All the residents were evacuated immediately upon the occurrence of the seismic shudder. The people rushed out of the buildings and got together in nearby lawns and lanes looking at the skyscrapers and towers.
The earthquake has also struck some parts of Jubail, an industrial city of the Kingdom. The residents felt the slight tremors in their residential and commercial buildings in Jubail and surrounding regions. There have been reports of evacuations from the buildings. In total, people at large were panic-stricken due to the quake that measured a minor magnitude in the eastern territory. The Saudi Seismologists said that it was an aftershock of the earthquake that hit southern Iran measuring 6.3 magnitude.
Two great researchers of the King Saud University, Dr Abdullah Al-Amry and Dr Mohammed Al-Fnais, who are seismic study experts, are of the opinion that the eastern regions of Saudi Arabia are considered to be seismically quiet. However, it is flanked by one of the most vigorous seismic belts, and if earthquake occurs, it could affect high-rise buildings and other infrastructure. That is why, Al-Khobar, metaphorically known as ”the Bride of the Arabian Sea”, is a planned city consisting of high towers and skyscrapers, designed in a method that resist earthquakes to the maximum extent.
Residents from across Qatar felt the aftershocks of an earthquake that occurred in southern Iran. Nearly two hours after the earthquake, many people are being allowed back in their residences and workplaces, with some exceptions. Others have been sent home from work for the day.
Thousands of people were evacuated from office and residential towers across Doha after tremors left many residents feeling a shaking sensation - in some instances for up to 30 to 40 seconds.
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake was registered in southern Iran just before 3pm Doha local time. Shortly thereafter, reports of shaking and earthquake-like effects began pouring in from Doha and elsewhere in Qatar.
Residents reported feeling the tremors across the city, primarily in areas near the coast, including at the Crowne Plaza Hotel towards the south-east, Hamad Hospital in the center of town, and Dafna and West Bay to the north.
Although not all in Doha felt the tremor - there were no reports of shaking in Al Waab - some as far away as Mesaieed and Ras Laffan said they felt it as well.
At the Pearl-Qatar, some towers were evacuated - especially those still under construction - while police took control of the situation there.
Within an hour, the Ministry of Interior said there were no known damages or injuries: "Some residents in Qatar felt tremors following an earthquake in Bushehr city of Iran. There is no damages or casualties in Qatar."
A four-car pileup did occur around the same time at Ahmed bin Ali Street, although it isn’t yet clear if the tremors had anything to do with it.
Many offices resumed normal operations within the hour, although employees at Qatar Science and Technology Park said they were sent home while a suspected gas leak was investigated.
There have been no recent earthquakes in Qatar, although mild tremors were reported in 2010 and 2011.
Dubai, Apr 9 (Emirates24|7): An earthquake shook the UAE and many countries in the Middle East, Asia and the US on Tuesday afternoon.
Residents of the UAE felt the ground shake under their feet around 4pm today as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Southern Iran.
An aftershock measuring 5.4 was reported 13 minutes after the first earthquake.
The UAE’s National Center Of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) spoke to Emirates 24|7 confirming the same, saying: “An earthquake has struck South of Iran measuring 6.2. The tremors were felt in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of its epicentre.”
News wire agency, Reuters, reported the epicentre near Bushehr in Iran.
Meanwhile, Twitter frenzy erupted within minutes of the tremors, with many reportedly running out of buildings.
Residents across Dubai confirmed buildings were being evacuated, including the Siemens office building in Jebel Ali, Emaar Square, Tiffany Tower (JLT) and Damac Towers.
Adam Kechil tweeted: “Emaar Square evacuated due to Earthquake.”
Meanwhile, towers in Qatar and Bahrain have also been evacuated as part of emergency procedures.
Shiraz Gidwani tweeted: “No tremors felt at the Burj Khalifa. Prayers with those affected in Iran.”
Salman Mohammad wrote to us saying: “I felt mild tremors in my flat in Al Qasmiya Sharjah the lamps were swinging mildly; it lasted for two minutes. It was scary as well since I live on a higher floor.”
Laura Bailey wrote: “Civil Defence confirms Sheikh Zayed Road building safe.”
Mozhgan Kazemi said: “Felt it for more than 10 seconds.”
Dubomedy tweeted: “Earthquake in Dubai Did you feel it?”
ExpatWoman.com also tweeted: “Has there just been an earth tremor? Did anyone feel it?”
"While I was talking with a client on the phone, I felt a light shift from left to right. I did not think much of it, and continued my work.
"But then all of my colleagues suddenly started talking about low blood pressure and dizzyness. While all of them are completely healthy! It was then that we realised there was an earthquake, and we decided to leave the building," said Kinana Homsi-Mardini, 27, who works in Tecom.
Kinana and her colleagues were not the only people with that idea. A little after 4 PM the streets were filled with eployees, who did not want to take the risk of staying inside.
Most people did not feel a thing, but were told by others about the light shake if earth. It was only a matter of seconds, would others report.
Shaher Bano, 27, was one of the few who felt the quake in her office. "There was just a light shake. It was over before I realised it. Because it was only shortly, it did not terrify me. But we did evacuate," she said.
Rachel Morris from Qatar tweeted: “Driving home and buildings evacuated everywhere.”
Thomas Jose Purackal said: “Tremors in Qatar because of 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran.”
From Bahrain, Namit Bhatia spoke to us, saying: “My office was evacuated and the Al Seef area in Manama was reportedly quite severe. It wasn’t vibration, but actual swinging.”