MADINA/JEDDAH – Forty percent of the residents of Al-Eis have left their homes and relocated to Madina and Yanbu as a result of the series of earth tremors that hit the area on Thursday, including one particularly strong tremor that created general panic and caused cracks to appear in some buildings. Official sources confirmed that there has been a mass exodus of residents due to the fear that the tremors will continue to increase in intensity.
The Civil Defense in the region is scheduled to train teachers and students who have volunteered to take part in rescue work in collaboration with the Saudi Red Crescent Society in case of emergencies due to the seismic activity in the area.
Maher Al-Jihani, Director of the Social Development Center in Al-Eis, said that there are contacts between the center and Col. Zuhair Ahmad Sibieh, Commander of the Civil Defense force in Al-Eis, and the Red Crescent station to organize training courses in rescue work. He pointed out that the center has increased its public awareness efforts by conducting meetings and presenting lectures to residents in order to reassure them and urge them to stay in their homes and remain calm, as there is nothing that currently necessitates leaving the region.
In a related development, the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) said that 29 tremors hit Al-Eis area on Thursday.
Hani Zahran, President of the National Earthquakes and Volcanoes Center, confirmed that the strongest tremor registered 3.9 on the Richter scale while the weakest registered 3.0.As to the possibility of the recent rains affecting the intensity of the tremors, Zahran said that the rains might have an effect on the rocks in mountainous areas causing rock slides, which in turn might cause weak tremors which sometimes occur in the mountains of Asir. He added that rain might also lead to water entering the pores of calcareous rocks and dissolving them resulting in the formation of caves and landslides which has occurred in the sedimentary rock cover in the Eastern Province.
However, regarding what is taking place in Harrat Al-Shaqqah, Zahran pointed out that the situation there is different. He explained that the analyses conducted by the SGS indicate that these tremors are linked to the movement of molten rocks (magma) below the surface.
Furthermore, they are comparatively deep, between 5 km and 7 km in depth, which indicates that this seismic activity is not related to the rainfall in Al-Eis region. – Okaz/SG