Dammam fire raises pollution fears

Updated 15 September 2013
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Dammam fire raises pollution fears

Heavy smoke and the acrid smell of chemicals still lingers over Dammam's industrial city from a huge fire that broke out Sunday at an ARASCO factory containing 23,000 tons of animal fodder.
ARASCO is a Saudi company that produces and markets food and agricultural products and services. The factory where the fire started manufactures fodder combined with chemical substances that are highly flammable.
Ammar Al-Magrbi, spokesman for the Civil Defense in the Eastern Province, told Arab News that the fire has been brought under control, but that it would take a few more days to remove smoldering fodder. "We are working to clear the substance out of the area to reduce smoke."
“The overall effects are restricted to the location of the accident, so all the working teams are wearing masks to avoid poisoning and suffocation. It is a blessing that the warehouses are a distance away from populated areas,” he said.
Spokesman of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), Hussein Al-Qahtani, said the organization is monitoring the movement and direction of wind in the area. The PME is also studying the composition of the air and the potential harm caused to the environment and humans.
“The fire caused chemical interactions due to the mixture of the chemical materials with the vapors. This resulted in the emission of carbon dioxide into the air.” These emissions can cause breathing difficulties, asphyxiation, respiratory allergies and eye irritations, he said.
Al-Qahtani said Civil Defense teams are taking measures to control the situation and are hoping that the movement and speed of the wind may help confine emissions to one area until all traces of the fire are removed.
“The presidency will follow up by measuring air quality and levels of pollution,” said Al-Qahtani.


Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 18 July 2018
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.