‘Possibility of earthquakes greater than magnitude 5, this requires more studies and scientific research’
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 15: During the past two weeks, the country witnessed earthquakes of strength ranging between 1.6 and 4.6 magnitude on the Richter scale, and felt by the population of the country in different regions, reports Al-Qabas daily. The head of the operations center of the the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD), expert in crisis and disaster management in the disaster assessment and coordination team of the United Nations Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Mishari Al-Faras confirmed Kuwait’s distance from the dangerous seismic belts.
Al-Faras reassured the country’s residents that Kuwait’s geographical location does not pass through seismic belts or what is called the tectonic plate convergence lines, and pointed out that the scientific research has indicated that earthquakes that occur inside Kuwait are the result of oil extraction and the associated pumping of water into underground instead of oil, and other factors, which leads to fractures in the rocks in the ground, thus residents may feel it from time to time, depending on the force emerging from the fracture or earthquake.
It is noticeable that the strength of all the earthquakes that were felt in Kuwait did not exceed 4.8 magnitude and it is difficult to have a clear effect, but there is a possibility of earthquakes greater than 5 magnitude and this requires more studies and scientific research, Al-Faras added.
With regard to the readiness of the firefighting teams to deal with accidents resulting from earthquakes, Al-Faras affirmed that the KFSD is ready to respond to disasters in accordance with international regulations and standards adopted to implement search and rescue operations and management. After the last earthquake that was felt in parts of the country on Nov 11 was 4.6 magnitude, questions arose about the impact on buildings in the event of a recurrence.
Al-Faras said that all earthquakes with strength less than 4.5 magnitude on the Richter scale are of low severity, however destructive effects increase when the epicenter is near the surface of the earth. Al-Faras pointed out the danger that could come from the seismic belt extending down the Zagros Mountains, indicating as a specialist in the field of crisis and disaster management that the meeting point of the Arab tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate poses more danger to Kuwait than the earthquakes that occur from time to time within its borders because this belt can release a seismic force greater than 7 magnitude, taking into account the distance between the country and the point of the earthquake.
“An earthquake occurred in the aforementioned region in November 2017, with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale, in the Kerman Shah between the Iranian-Iraqi border and its epicenter was approximately 650 km from Kuwait, but it caused confusion in the country and minor damage to a building, and this effect will be different if an earthquake takes place with the same magnitude and at a distance of only 400 kilometers”, he says.
Al-Faras confirmed that KFSD has many links with different parties, whether at the local or global level, and that the seismic monitoring process at the national level is carried out through the National Seismic Network of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and “We have close contact with the existing experts on operating this network, and that we receive earthquake notifications directly around the clock.” Al-Faras pointed out that there are modern and advanced operating rooms, and other authorities in the country as well and there are procedures for dealing with earthquake disasters at the national and international levels.
At the same time, operating rooms alone are not the main pillar for dealing with and managing earthquake disasters, as it is possible to establish many operating rooms and in different locations during the occurrence of disasters, even at sea.