Should UAE residents worry about earthquakes in Iran?

Tremors, aftershocks are often felt in the northern parts of the country


Waheed Abbas

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Representative Photo
Representative Photo

Published: Mon 4 Jul 2022, 5:24 PM

UAE residents have reported multiple tremors over the last few weeks due to a string of earthquakes in Iran. According to the NCM, as many as earthquakes hit southern Iran on Saturday, ranging from a magnitude of 4.2 to 6.3 on the Richter scale. People reported aftershocks as well after the earthquake.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Khalifa Alebri, Head of the Tsunami Early Warning Centre at the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), said the UAE residents should not worry about earthquakes because buildings in the country apply global seismic codes.

“The UAE applies seismic design code for buildings as part of disaster risk reduction policy against natural hazards. All the buildings in the country apply these design codes which is one of the requirement for getting the building permissions. Hence, we should not worry about these earthquakes,” he said. He added that people in the northern part of the country such as Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah are used to feeling tremors since they are close to the south of Iran, which is the centre of most of the country's quakes. “In Abu Dhabi, people feel tremors once in a year or two and its intensity is also very low,” he said.

Khalifa Alebri said that earthquakes do not strike at any specific time or in any specific season of the year.

“There is no season for earthquakes. Technology has not reached that level to predict earthquakes. It can happen any time of the year.”

The Earth is made up of a series of pieces, or tectonic plates, that move slowly over time. A convergent boundary occurs when two tectonic plates move towards each other, such as Arabian plate colliding with Eurasian plate along Zagros mountain in the southern parts of Iran. Earthquakes are common along these boundaries.

“Earthquakes mostly happen along plate boundaries, therefore, UAE is safe from extreme earthquakes. The UAE residents mostly feel tremors due to earthquakes in the south of Iran. The UAE has a small fault line in the northeastern part of the country, usually generating 2.0 or 3.0 magnitude earthquakes, which are not harmful." He added that people feel these earthquakes only "slightly".

Right behaviour during an earthquake

Khalifa Alebri urged people to educate themselves about earthquakes as this will help them overcome their fear.

He added that in areas where tremors are felt regularly, people know how to behave due to their knowledge and awareness.

“The right behaviour is important before, during and after the earthquake. We should increase the knowledge about earthquakes so that we can recognise their intensity and not be afraid of them.”

He added that management of the buildings can advise tenants whether to stay indoors or step out in open areas during seismic activity.


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