Emergency quake shelter sites selected

Emergency quake shelter sites selected
Updated 03 May 2014

Emergency quake shelter sites selected

Emergency quake shelter sites selected

Saudi Arabia has finalized plans to build life-saving emergency earthquake shelters following warnings of an ever-increasing number of large-magnitude earthquakes that can hit different countries and regions across the globe, including the Middle East.
The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), the state-owned body responsible for monitoring seismic activity, is working closely with the Civil Defense Department on the project.
“The SGS has selected many emergency shelter sites in different regions of the Kingdom, including Madinah, Yanbu, and Haradh,” Zohair A. Nawab, SGS president, said Saturday.
In his interview, Nawab also spoke about the Kingdom’s readiness to cope with any disaster, especially earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. The SGS is planning to select sites for emergency shelters in many other Saudi cities along the country’s Western region, where the level of seismic activity is high, he said.
“The idea to build special shelters was first conceived after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Iran,” said Nawab, and added that new seismograph stations with state-of-the-art equipment are being installed by SGS in the Kingdom so that the quality of data and information on earthquake parameters can be improved. He pointed out that the SGS is now responsible for all earthquake-monitoring stations and the monitoring of seismic activity in the country.
Nawab said that most of the stations are currently concentrated in the Western Province.
They are located in the north of Yanbu in the area of Harrat Lunayyir, he said.
“The Saudi National Seismic Network is capable of monitoring any seismic activity because the sensors used in the network are broadband and are capable of recording all types of quakes, ranging from micro tremors to huge-intensity earthquakes,” he said. “There are currently almost 150 seismic stations. We are planning to reach the 200-mark, which will cover the whole country.”
“Numerous earthquakes occur near the boundary between the Arabian plate and the surrounding tectonic plates,” he said.
Apart from seismicity along the axis of the Red Sea and along the Gulf of Aqaba and Aden, considerable activity occurs along the Dead Sea transform fault system.
A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern part of the Kingdom, centering on Jazan, earlier this year. Its impact was felt by inhabitants in the Asir and Najran regions, according to the SGS and postings on social networking sites.
A number of small earthquakes struck western Saudi Arabia last year. In fact, over 30,000 minor quakes took place between April and June 2009 within an ancient solidified lava field called the “Harrat Lunayyir,” which damaged buildings near Al-Ais.
This prompted authorities to evacuate 40,000 residents from the region at the time. The SGS is also working on many other projects related to geological mapping, mineral exploration, environment geology and hydrogeology.


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.