Risks of earthquakes in the UAE

Published:  14 Nov at 6 PM
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Reports of the effects of the powerful earthquake which struck along the border of Iraq and Iran include a death toll of at least 452, injuries to thousands and massive damage to villages.

Tremors were felt across most of the UAE due to the shallow epicentre of the quake along the Iran/Iraq border, sending expats and nationals fleeing from buildings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other northern emirates. Luckily, no deaths, injuries or damage to property were reported, although Emirati citizens were warned of aftershocks.

One Dubai expat told reporters he’d been terrified as his office was on the 10th floor of one of Dubai’s high-rise buildings. He got out fast, along with his colleagues. In Abu Dhabi, one resident was in an elevator in his office building when the tremors began, and described the strange cracking noises from the life as very scary. Once he’d reached the ground floor and left the building, he joined the crowds standing in open areas away from buildings.

The UAE is located on three local fault zones centred around Dibba, but the most dangerous fault line is major, highly active and located in southern Iran close by the UAE. The Emirates region can also be affected by powerful earthquakes originating in Pakistan. In Dubai, experts are reassuring residents in high-rise buildings that they’re safe as long as the quake has a magnitude of less than 5.9.

Safety recommendations during an earthquake include taking immediate cover under a table and staying away from objects which can cause damage when they fall. Staying inside is almost always recommended, as is avoiding elevators, and opening all doors which might be jammed shut after tremors stop is also recommended. Drivers are told to pull over, stay clear of bridges, overpasses and tunnels and pedestrians are advised to stay clear of street lights and electric cables and wires as well as buildings.

If the tremors have been strong and aftershocks are expected, residents are told to leave their homes after switching off gas, electrical and water supplies. They’re also advised to take a flashlight, spare batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water and emergency food, a knife, cash and a battery operated radio if possible.

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