Dubai: Strong tremors from a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake, epicentered near the Pakistan-Iran border were felt in the UAE today for the second time this month. Occurring 650km northeast of Ras Al Khaimah, 30km underground, the tremors were felt all across the Gulf, causing evacuations in high-rise offices and residential units.
A spokesperson for the National Center for Metrology and Seismology (NCMS) in Abu Dhabi, while speaking to local newspapers stated that the impact of the Iran earthquake on the UAE lasted 15 to 20 seconds and ranged between 4 and 5 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake follows exactly a week after tremors from a 6.4 magnitude quake left 37 people dead in Iran. Early reports out of Iran on today’s quake estimated 40 people dead with hundreds more injured. So far five people are reported dead in Pakistan and at least 47 others are feared injured. Though the area is sparsely populated, the numbers are expected to increase owing to a delayed response in evacuation and medical assistance.
Officials have declared a state of emergency in the region in Iran, describing the quake as the worst in 40 years.
Sareen Tiwana, a 43-floor resident of Business Bay in Downtown Dubai calls the experience “harrowing and scary”.
“The whole building was swaying side to side. It was even scarier looking out the window to the buildings opposite. The fire alarms went off as people rushed towards the fire exits. There was mild panic.”
The day’s event are rendered scarier as Dubai residents, though prone to aftershocks of seismic activity out of Iran, have never felt anything this strong in the country.
Shahid Kazi, a consultant working in Dubai Silicon Oasis was rushed out of his building at 2.44pm.
“There were very strong tremors that seemed to last for a really long time.”
“Definitely stronger than what we had last week”, he added.
GGC feels the tremors
Tremors were also felt across the Middle East, with reports coming in from Qatar and Bahrain. Facebook and Twitter were immediately abuzz with enquiries about friends and family.
Residents across the Gulf have been urged by authorities to remain vigilant to aftershocks and to evacuate buildings and houses immediately.