MADINA – Two new tremors in Harrat Al-Shaqa on Thursday morning delayed the return of Al-Eis evacuees.
The new tremors measured 3.65 and 3.38 respectively on the Richter scale. With these the number of tremors to have hit the region till Thursday afternoon rose to 158.
The tremors have caused the work of the committee for monitoring cracking in houses in Al-Eis to stop just three hours after they resumed their task.
In its daily statement, the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) said its stations in the national seismic monitoring network have not detected the emission of any volcanic vapors during the last 24 hours. The temperatures also continue to be in their normal range while the concentration of radon gas in water wells varied. No new widening in the faults accompanying the seismic activity has been detected.
The new developments have forced the committee comprising five government agencies to return the evacuees and close all shops and gas stations, pouring cold water on the residents’ hopes after they were allowed to enter Al-Eis on Thursday morning to meet the committee so as to check their homes and buildings. If the building was fit for staying in and did not have any cracks in the roofs and walls, the owner was allowed to bring his family into the house or to resume his commercial activity.
The moment the tremors took place the committee stopped its work immediately and evacuated the workers and citizens from the place.
Maj. Gen. Saleh Al-Muhawwis, Director General of Civil Defense in Madina region, said it was wrong to think about bringing back the residents to the area so long as seismic activity is detected in the lava fields. He said the matter cannot be looked into until the end of the academic year taking into consideration the circumstances of the students and their psychological condition. He added that the students ought not to be disturbed with arrangements to return to their region until the intensity of the tremors decreases and the seismic activity returns to its normal level. – Okaz/GS
– Khalid Al-Shallahi and Ali Al-Harbi contributed to this report.