Dubai, April 16 2013 - Buildings in Dubai Media City are evacuated following an earthquake in Dubai, April 16, 2013. (Photo by: Sarah Dea/The National)
Buildings in Dubai Media City being evacuated following tremors from an earthquake in Iran earlier this month. Sarah Dea / The National

No need to fear UAE earthquake, says expert



DUBAI // Residents who live and work in tower blocks can rest easy about their earthquake fears, Dubai Municipality's resident seismologist says.

Dr Kamal Atiya, an earthquake expert from the municipality's survey department, sought to calm nerves during a lecture on quake safety yesterday.

"The earthquake zone is always on the edge of the seismic plates, which in our region of the Arabian plate passes through the middle of Iran - far, far away from the UAE," Dr Atiya said.

Many residents have been on edge following the tremors felt in the UAE as a result of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake near the Iran-Pakistan border on April 16.

Rumours circulated on social media did nothing to help - the US Geological Survey had predicted a very big tremor of 9.99 magnitude would hit the UAE between April 25 and 30.

"There cannot even be an earthquake of this magnitude," Dr Atiya said. "The highest recorded earthquake was a 9.5 that happened in Chile in 1960. The 2004 tsunami was due to a 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, and the 2011 tsunami which devastated Japan was from a 9.0 earthquake."

A tsunami in the shallow Gulf, he said, was "highly unlikely" - it would require a quake of more than 7.0 magnitude and a fracture at precisely the right angle.

Mohammed Mushroom, director of the survey department at Dubai Municipality, said: "Currently there is no scientific way to predict earthquakes.

"The US and Russia attempted to come up with methods to predict earthquakes but they were very costly and both failed.

"What we do have is a way of detecting them accurately once they happen. Dubai Municipality has 13 seismic detection stations around the Emirate and we are also linked with the Abu Dhabi and Sharjah [stations] as well as international seismic centres. Our detection system receives data from our stations as well as all the other stations in the area, and alerts us and authorities when it detects seismic activity."

He said the system could also determine from the seismic waves if the activity was due to earthquakes or to controlled explosions such as those in quarries.

"Dubai is outside the threat range for earthquakes," said Mr Mushroom. "But it never hurts to be prepared.

"Skyscrapers and towers in Dubai have all been tested to withstand earthquakes of higher magnitudes than we will ever see here. They also follow the UK building regulation with regard to seismic activity."

If you are in a tower when tremors hit, the best thing to do is stay put - don't evacuate down the stairs while the building is shaking and do not take the lifts.

"While the earthquake is happening you will not have any time to get outside," said Dr Atiya. "Just find a safe place to be, such as near a wall or a support beam, away from the edge of the building, or in a doorway.

Conventional earthquake advice is to take shelter from falling objects under a table. But Dr Atiyasaid: "If you are going to hide under a table, make sure it is a sturdy one that will withstand things falling on it."

After an earthquake, check the water, electric and gas supplies are not damaged. If they are, shut them off. Open the windows and doors if you smell gas, leave immediately and inform the authorities.

Inspect for damage by examining the walls, floors, stairs, doors and windows, if they are unsafe leave before an aftershock and stand in an open space, clear of power lines.

Listen to the radio for updates, emergency information and instructions. Don't use the phone if it is not an emergency, Dr Atiya said, or people run the risk of tying up the lines for those in need.

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Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

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Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

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Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

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Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN MARITIME DISPUTE

2000: Israel withdraws from Lebanon after nearly 30 years without an officially demarcated border. The UN establishes the Blue Line to act as the frontier.

2007: Lebanon and Cyprus define their respective exclusive economic zones to facilitate oil and gas exploration. Israel uses this to define its EEZ with Cyprus

2011: Lebanon disputes Israeli-proposed line and submits documents to UN showing different EEZ. Cyprus offers to mediate without much progress.

2018: Lebanon signs first offshore oil and gas licencing deal with consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

2018-2019: US seeks to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent clashes over oil and gas resources.

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Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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Winner Land Of Legends, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

10pm Dubai Dash Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (T) 1,000m

Winner Equilateral, Frankie Dettori, Charles Hills.

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The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

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Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

if you go
The specs

Engine: 3.6-litre, V6
Transmission: eight-speed auto
Power: 285hp
Torque: 353Nm
Price: Dh159,900
On sale: now


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