JEDDAH: IBRAHIM NAFFEE
Published — Sunday 9 December 2012
Last update 10 December 2012 11:28 pm
The president of the Saudi Geological Survey has said there is a possibility of a strong earthquake at the Red Sea’s west coast.
“Its implications cannot be predicted,” said Zuhair Nawab in an interview with Arab News.
His statement comes at a time when rumors on the Internet spread that an earthquake might hit Jeddah sometime soon.
Nawab denied these rumors, saying there is no scientific timing for the earthquake to happen. “The vulnerability of Jeddah to an earthquake like the one that hit Cairo in 1992 is something possible. The whole western coast is classified as an earthquake zone, although most of those that hit the area are small ones,” he said.
Nawab pointed out that no strong earthquake had been registered for 20 years. Strong earthquakes usually happen every 30 years, but the most advanced technologies could not predict the time of an earthquake. However, the infrastructure of the city plays a pivotal role in avoiding grave consequences of any earthquake, he said.
The Department of Civil Defense denounced rumors that Jeddah would be hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 degrees on the Richter scale, saying that such rumors would raise panic among residents. At the same time, the department expressed its readiness for any calamity.
Abdullah Baker Radwan, head of the contractors forum and member of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that cement ratios in constructions and buildings is more than enough (over 30 percent) to mitigate any impacts of an earthquake.