The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater

The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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Tabah and its environs were an area of volcanic activity. In 1983, land subsidence, accompanied by fissures and cracks, led to the development of fractures that ran for long distances along the crater leading to the evacuation of its inhabitants. (Supplied)
The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
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Updated 17 November 2020

The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater

The centuries-old Saudi village atop a volcano crater
  • Call to develop facilities near the site to make it yet another hub of nature tourism in the Kingdom

MAKKAH: It was in the year 1983 when the residents of the village of Tabah, east of Hail, discovered they had been living on a volcano crater for centuries.
The village, nestled in the Salma Mountains in northern Saudi Arabia, presented a perfect picture of peace and harmony. Villagers reported feeling tremors and seeing cracks in the ground here and there, but no one really thought much of it.
The situation worsened in the 1980s, when a development project began in the area and an asphalt company began paving roads, a process for which the village’s underground water had to be extracted.
The changes to the water table led to a series of loud sounds and land subsidence that destroyed several homes. It was then that the government decided to move the villagers to safety and compensate them by providing them with homes outside the volcanic zone.
Khalaf Naif Al-Hasher, 70, who was born in the old village of Tabah, told Arab News that it was an important and well-known part of northern Saudi Arabia and that its residents were known for their kindness and compassion.
“I remember very well the days when my relatives and I moved from Tabah after it began experiencing geological phenomena, such as tears, fissures and land subsidence,” he said.
“Although we did feel some tremors and saw slight cracks here and there, no one cared, and the village’s residents were not bothered by them.”
He said that moving to what he referred to as “the new Tabah” was urgent after several homes were damaged in the village, which had a population of 1,500 people at the time.

The village was not affected in the past by any imbalances in water consumption. It was only after people started using water-pumping equipment in agriculture that an imbalance was created, causing the soil to subside in order to occupy the void, and this led to tremors.

Mubarak Al-Salamah Geologist

“The asphalt company used to consume large quantities of underground water, for which Tabah was famous, and the residents used to sell water to the company.”
Al-Hasher said that he and others who were present in those days still remember the terrifying sound that emanated from the ground.
“Everyone felt the strength and intensity of the tremors, which led to land subsidence,” he said. “Those houses with cracks still exist.”
Al-Hasher said that the Saudi government intervened in a timely manner, and its agencies acted quickly and inspected 250 damaged homes. The government then decided to move all residents to another residential area about 3 kilometers from the old Tabah and outside the volcanic zone.


Hamad Al-Mawkaa, a 57-year-old man who lived in Tabah, told Arab News that the village began to see large cracks more than three decades ago. He said the situation worsened when the underground water, which villagers had previously only consumed in small quantities for drinking and irrigation, was depleted due to the project.




It is possible to notice in Tabah swept-away cliffs and stratigraphic columns, which indicate the occurrence of several successive volcanic eruptions. (Photos/Social media)

“In a few days, all the groundwater reserves were emptied, and the village was unable to compensate for the lost water due to the scarcity of rain. This caused an imbalance in the earth’s crust, which led to a series of cracks and fissures that spread throughout the village,” Al-Mawkaa recalled.
Geologist Mubarak Al-Salamah, an expert in desert and environmental tourism, told Arab News that the village of Tabah became attractive for tourists from inside and outside the Kingdom.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The area was inhabited for centuries until 1983.

• The village, nestled in the Salma Mountains in northern Saudi Arabia, presented a perfect picture of peace and harmony.

• The situation worsened in the 1980s, when a development project began in the area and an asphalt company began paving roads, a process for which the village’s underground water had to be extracted.

• The changes to the water table led to a series of loud sounds and land subsidence that destroyed several homes.

• The government then decided to move all residents to another residential area about 3 kilometers from the old Tabah and outside the volcanic zone.

“At the time (1983), the government sent a team from the Ministry of Interior, Agriculture and Water, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs. I was a member of that team, which made recommendations after inspecting the cracks, joints, and fissures. This prompted the government to move the residents outside the crater and provide them with new homes,” he said.
Land subsidence, accompanied by fissures and cracks, led to the development of fractures that ran for long distances along the crater, Al-Salamah explained, which has a diameter of about 2 kilometers at some points. “With this, the conical shape of the volcano transformed into a funnel shape, and as the drainage system was confined, rainwater collected inside the crater and formed a reservoir of groundwater.”
Explaining the conditions leading to the village’s evacuation, Al-Salamah said: “The village was not affected in the past by any imbalances in water consumption. It was only after people started using water pumping equipment in agriculture that an imbalance was created, causing the soil to subside in order to occupy the void, and this led to tremors.”
According to the geologist, it is possible to notice swept-away cliffs and stratigraphic columns in Tabah, which indicate the occurrence of several successive volcanic eruptions.
Al-Salamah said that Tabah’s people, as well as others in the region with the exception of specialists, were not aware of this fact until parts of its land caved in.
“Tabah and its environs were an area of volcanic activity. The village of Al-Na’i is also on top of the Hatimah volcano, and the environs of the village of Abdah are extinct volcanic craters. These areas must be invested in to serve as tourist attractions that benefit the entire region,” said Al-Salamah.
He added: “If tourist facilities are made available, such as lodges built from raw materials available in the region like mud and basalt, the area would become one of the most important tourist attractions in Hail.
“We must consider the importance of nature tourism in the neighboring Salma Mountains, which are suitable for hiking, mountain climbing, and paragliding. Even more beautiful is the Islamic and historical tourism in the city of Faid and Darb Zubaida (Zubaida’s Road). Zubaida, the wife of Caliph Harun Al-Rashid, has been immortalized through the water pools that show the ingenuity of Arabs in water harvesting and engineering.”

 


Car enthusiast puts her fellow Saudi women in the driving seat

Times have changed in Saudi society and gender is no longer the barrier it once was to pursuing a career in previously male-dominated fields such as the automobile industry. (Supplied)
Times have changed in Saudi society and gender is no longer the barrier it once was to pursuing a career in previously male-dominated fields such as the automobile industry. (Supplied)
Updated 22 min 57 sec ago

Car enthusiast puts her fellow Saudi women in the driving seat

Times have changed in Saudi society and gender is no longer the barrier it once was to pursuing a career in previously male-dominated fields such as the automobile industry. (Supplied)
  • Nada Hambzaza aims to pass on what she has learned about cars to the Kingdom’s newly empowered female drivers

JEDDAH: Trying to choose the perfect car can be a confusing and intimidating experience for anyone, but especially new drivers. Dealing with the problems that come with car ownership can be even more vexing.
With a growing number of women getting behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia, one Saudi woman is on a mission to teach them what lurks under the hood so that they are better able to choose a vehicle that suits them and keep it running well.
In 2018 women in the Kingdom were officially given permission to drive, empowering many to take to the road for the first time. For many new drivers, however, trying to decide which vehicle is best can feel like a leap into the unknown, to say nothing of the stress and confusion when basic mechanical problems arise.
Nada Hambzaza, a public relations manager at an automotive and marketing agency in Jeddah, grew up with a love of cars and decided she wanted to learn how they work. This ultimately inspired her to launch a YouTube channel to teach other women about cars, and now she plans to take the next step by providing some basic lessons on maintenance and repairs.

HIGHLIGHTS

• In 2018 women in the Kingdom were officially given permission to drive, empowering many to take to the road for the first time. For many new drivers, however, trying to decide which vehicle is best can feel like a leap into the unknown, to say nothing of the stress and confusion when basic mechanical problems arise.

• Nada Hambzaza’s YouTube channel, the Arabic name of which translates as ‘for safer driving,’ provides content in Arabic for an Arab audience.

• Hambazaza has more than 15 years of experience working in office management and public relations. She said her mission with her YouTube channel is to ensure women are capable of looking after their vehicles themselves without needing any help for basic maintenance.

“I have had a passion for cars since I was a kid,” she told Arab News. “I used to see my family members taking care of their cars and I spent a lot of time with them. So I understand more than most females, at least in the terminologies related to cars.

Nada Hambzaza launched a YouTube channel to teach other women about cars, and now she plans to provide some basic lessons on maintenance and repairs. (Supplied)

“Learning is a nonstop journey; I always keep educating myself through web searches and watching related material to advance my knowledge.”
Hambzaza’s YouTube channel, the Arabic name of which translates as “for safer driving,” provides content in Arabic for an Arab audience.
“I’m not by any means a mechanic but I know basic maintenance,” she said. “Different people have different thoughts — you don’t have to physically work on the car yourself, but at least gain the knowledge and delegate the physical work to a specialist.
“You can be sure that there are some tasks that can be done easily by yourself without the need for a mechanic’s help; just a little knowledge can get the job done.”
Hambazaza has more than 15 years of experience working in office management and public relations. She said her mission with her YouTube channel is to ensure women are capable of looking after their vehicles themselves without needing any help for basic maintenance.

Learning is a nonstop journey; I always keep educating myself through web searches and watching related material to advance my knowledge.

Nada Hambzaza

“The main purpose of the program is to spread awareness, mainly to new drivers, so that they get to know more about their vehicle, the main parts and how they are structured, in addition to knowing how to handle certain situations,” she explained. In addition, viewers can send their questions about specific scenarios or issues for Hambazaza to answer.
Her short videos aim to be informative and easy to understand, she said, and to provide Saudi women with information in a simple and engaging way that will appeal to new and experienced drivers alike who might lack important, basic knowledge that could make their motoring lives easier.
In addition to the backing of her husband and family, Hambazaza said she has received support and positive feedback from other people, which helped ease her initial fears about how her videos would be received.
“I was a bit nervous in the beginning, thinking I would receive tons of comments about how girls can’t work on cars,” she said. “But the overall reaction has been very supportive and my close circle of friends and family is pushing me to do more and encouraging me to continue.”
Times have changed in Saudi society and gender is no longer the barrier it once was to pursuing a career in previously male-dominated fields such as the automobile industry.
“Underestimating women getting into this field is no longer applicable to today’s world,” Hambazaza said. She encouraged girls and young women always to pursue their passions, and added that if they find their dream job in the automotive industry “don’t allow anything to pull you back — follow your dreams.”


Special needs pilgrims completed Hajj with ease

The 17 special needs pilgrims performed Hajj during this season. (Supplied)
The 17 special needs pilgrims performed Hajj during this season. (Supplied)
Updated 40 min 19 sec ago

Special needs pilgrims completed Hajj with ease

The 17 special needs pilgrims performed Hajj during this season. (Supplied)
  • The transportation process between the holy sites was perfect

MAKKAH: Special needs pilgrims in the Kingdom performing Hajj have received continued support for years, and this year was no exception.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in collaboration with Harakiya Adults Motor Disability Association, managed to help 17 adults from the association to perform Hajj during this season through a fully equipped campaign that took into account their health conditions, to assure an easy and comfortable experience.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is keen to enable the disabled to perform their pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam. The deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Abdulfattah Mashat, has given the matter special care personally, conducting inspection visits to the disabled Hajj camp in Muzdalifah to reassure and listen to the suggestions of people there.
The 17 special needs Saudi pilgrims’ disabilities range from paraplegics to polio survivors, from different areas including Riyadh, Jouf, Dammam, Dawadmi, Madinah, Asir, Qassim, the Eastern Province, Hail, and Taif.
Majed Al-Soraya, director of the Campaign Beneficiaries Services Department, who suffers from a motor disability, told Arab News: “Selecting candidates was based on many conditions, including that the beneficiary had never performed Hajj before.
“Participation was limited to persons with motor disabilities who could rely on themselves, and were immunized with (a coronavirus disease vaccine) second dose,” he added.
Al-Soraya also mentioned the ministry’s readiness to offer pilgrims with motor disabilities a comfortable stay and fully equipped transpiration. “Technical inspection and maintenance procedures were carried out as a preparation stage. We made sure to prepare travel medical supplies, first aid, Ihrams, and pilgrims’ needs. We also made preparations to ensure a well-equipped secure residence in Mina.”
One of the participants, Abdullah Alraishan, a paraplegic whose condition was caused by a car accident in 2011, told Arab News: “To be honest, I was not expecting a chance to perform Hajj this year. It is an unexpected feeling. I’m really speechless; everything was well organized. Indeed, all sectors have made an exceptional effort.
“Being a person with disabilities, I found very comprehensive access, care, and attention by the campaign. The transportation process between the holy sites was perfect. Thanks to our government, security sectors, and to everyone who worked on such an initiative for people with disabilities.”
Khalid Al-Hajjri, 38, has had a movement disability since birth. He told Arab News that he decided to participate in this year’s Hajj because it was an irreplaceable opportunity, in light of the small numbers, organization and precautions in place.
“The experience of Hajj this year was wonderful, full of spirituality and indescribable feelings,” he said. “The movement between the holy sites was carried out with ease (with) the well-equipped cars, the sufficient number of organizers and the integrated coordination with all sectors.”
Naji Al-Fahiqi, 43, who also suffers from a movement disability caused by poliomyelitis said that he was not expecting to get the opportunity to participate in this year’s Hajj. “I was lucky enough and blessed to be among (the) pilgrims this year,” he said.


Saudi Arabia’s daily case count remains stable

The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is now available nationwide to the 12-18 age group. (SPA/file photo)
The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is now available nationwide to the 12-18 age group. (SPA/file photo)
Updated 1 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s daily case count remains stable

The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is now available nationwide to the 12-18 age group. (SPA/file photo)
  • A total of 69.2 percent of the Kingdom’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 daily case count remains stable, with numbers remaining within the 1,000-1,400 case count for more than two months.
On Saturday the Ministry of Health (MoH) recorded 1,256 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 516,949 cases since the start of the pandemic.
With Saturday’s numbers, there are now 10,829 active cases, 1,385 of which are critical; a rise of 2 in the past 24 hours.
The region with the highest cases is Riyadh at 280, followed by Makkah with 244 and the Eastern Province at 170. The region with the lowest cases is Jouf with 6.
Cases that have recovered in the past day are at 1,115, bringing the total number of recoveries to 497,965.

INNUMBERS

516,949 Total cases

497,965 Recoveries

8,155 Deaths 10,829

Active cases

The region with the highest recovery rate is Riyadh at 309, followed by the Eastern Province at 219 and Makkah at 210.
COVID-19 related deaths have reached 14, raising the national toll to 8,155.
As 89,482 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, more than 24.2 million vaccines have been administered at a rate of 69.4 doses per 100. A total of 69.2 percent of the Kingdom’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
With vaccine doses continuing to be administered at a high rate, the MoH has announced that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is now available nationwide to the 12-18 age group.


King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides
Updated 24 July 2021

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides
  • King Salman expressed his wishes that the missing would return safely
  • Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near Mumbai

RIYADH: King Salman sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to the president of India after 119 people died in monsoon-triggered landslides and building collapses.
More than 135,000 people have been evacuated and dozens are still missing.
In the cable to Ram Nath Kovind, the king said “We share the pain of this affliction with you and we send you, the families of the deceased and your people, our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy.”
He also expressed his wishes that the missing would return safely.
Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near the financial capital Mumbai and causing the worst floods in decades in the resort state of Goa.


Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 24 July 2021

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed three Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The Houthi militia continues its aggression by trying to target civilians and civilian objects, the coalition said.

The coalition is taking operational measures to protect civilians from Houthi hostilities, it added.