Thousands of people ran from their homes and offices in the Eastern Province yesterday after tremors were felt from a massive earthquake in Iran.
There were reports of tremors in Dammam, Alkhobar and other parts of the Eastern Province. Tremors were also felt in other Gulf states and as far as India. At least one building in Riyadh was evacuated yesterday when office workers felt the building shake.
No injuries were reported in the Eastern Province or Riyadh by the Civil Defense.
Jamal Khan, an IT expert at Saudi Research and Publishing Company (SRPC) in Dammam, said: “I felt the building shake. I just wanted to find a way to escape.”
Shajahan, an expatriate living in Dammam, said: “I felt the building shake and was shocked and afraid. When I got outside, I saw other people had also left their buildings.”
Muhammad Yahya, a citizen, said: “This earthquake was stronger than the one last week.”
Dr. Zuhair Nawab, president of the Saudi Geological Survey, told Arab News yesterday that the Eastern Province and Riyadh felt the earthquake at noon yesterday. “The earthquake in Iran occurred in the south-east of Iran, which is 1,300 km away from the Saudi border,” he said. He said there was no cause for alarm because the Kingdom was far from the earthquake's epicenter.
The Almezan Tower in Olaya Street in Riyadh was evacuated yesterday as a precautionary measure. However, Nawab said the evacuation was not ordered by the Civil Defense, but by the owners and occupants of the complex.
Suber Syed, who works as a regional product manager at one of the offices at Almezan Tower, said: “I was in a meeting with my team around 2 p.m. when suddenly we felt the table shaking. My other colleagues in the office shouted out in surprise and panic and we all headed toward the corridor. The whole building was being evacuated. The lifts were shut down and we had to take the stairs down from the sixth floor.”
Hemant Pandya, a systems engineer, who also works in the same tower, said: “We felt as if our building was swinging. I first felt our table moving, then my chair swinging. I saw that my colleagues were experiencing the same thing, so we rushed out of the building.”
According to reports, the US Geological Survey said the earthquake hit at a depth of 15.2 km.
On April 9, a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck close to Iran's only nuclear power station, killing 37 people, injuring 850 and devastating two villages. This one was not close to a nuclear facility.
Meanwhile, there were reports of 34 people being killed in Pakistan, with hundreds of houses flattened.
Iran sits on major geological faultlines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes, including a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in 2003 that flattened the city of Bam, in the country’s far southeast, killing more than 25,000 people.