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Dubai: Shaken by the panicky reaction from the public following the mild tremors felt in the UAE this month, the Dubai Municipality has brought out guidelines to tell residents what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Though the officials reiterate that the emirate is safe from any high seismic activity, the civic body has stepped up measures to increase the awareness among the public and governmental agencies to tackle situations akin to what happened on April 9 and 16. Thousands of residents had rushed out of their buildings and stayed outside for hours when the earthquakes with epicentre in southern Iran and its border with Pakistan shook the buildings in the UAE on those two days.

The Geodetic and Hydrographic Survey Section of the Survey Department has printed flyers carrying the guidelines and details on how quakes take place, structure of the earth, and types of seismic waves. These will be distributed to residents and awareness classes and evacuation drills will be conducted in schools, according to the municipality’s seismology specialist Prof Kamal Mohammed Atiya.

After giving a lecture on earthquake safety measures at the municipality headquarters on Thursday, Prof Atiya said it was high-time that every building and entity had a plan in place to educate people about handling such crisis situation.

“This is a lesson for us. We need to be alert and smart though we are in a safe zone,” he told Khaleej Times.

Research and records of the municipality show that Dubai is located in an area of very low seismic activity. “Not only in Dubai but almost in all parts of the UAE, there have been only small tremors in the eastern side to the east of Masafi, and some minor seismic activity had taken place at Nazwa and northern Huwayait,” said Atiya.

“Most of the earthquake effects come from large distant south Iran and Pakistan earthquakes. Since these earthquakes took place at a great distant from all the UAE cities, more than 200kms away, they had little effect in the UAE.”

Citing that Dubai uses a seismic code larger than the one determined based on the recent seismic hazard studies done by DM in 2009, he said the buildings in Dubai can withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 on the Richter Scale and a magnitude of 7 if it happens up to 30km away from the emirate.

“But, this doesn’t mean that we may experience any such quakes. These are estimated results based on our studies. We don’t intend to scare the public by disclosing these details. Instead, we want them to be aware of things. People should not pay heed to any rumours and should understand that so far no scientific tool has been developed that can predict an earthquake,” said Atiya.

“Since Dubai has not suffered any damaging earthquake either in recent or historical records we do not expect any of these damaging events to take place at all.”

However, he advised that occupants of high-rise buildings should stay calm and should try to take cover under strong desks or tables if they feel the tremors. “It is not recommended for them to go outside during a quake. They should not take elevators and stairs when the earth shakes. Everyone running out can also cause a stampede.”

However, the expert advised that people should leave their buildings if they see some damages after the quake. -


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the problems could be solved through "friendly consultation".

As the stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh continues to strain relations, the Chinese government said on Friday it believed both countries had the “capacity and wisdom” to defuse the row.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters both countries had maintained “close communication” over issues regarding the boundary, adding that China believed problems could be solved through “friendly consultation”.

Separately on Friday, State media quoted a South Asia scholar at the elite Peking University as saying the recent tensions “may cast a shadow” on the expected visit of new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi next month – likely to be his first overseas trip after he took over in March.

Han Hua, a South Asia scholar at Peking University, told the Party-run Global Times that “choosing India as the first stop of the premier’s visit shows China’s will to improve ties, but that the current standoff may cast a shadow on the visit”.

“Reports about Chinese troops’ cross-border patrols are not rare in Indian media. However, the latest hyping came at an inappropriate time before the premier’s visit, and it was also inappropriate to summon the [Chinese] ambassador [in New Delhi],” Professor Han told the newspaper.

She said “there had been speculation that New Delhi may hope to ‘fish in troubled waters’ as Beijing is caught in an island dispute with Tokyo.”

Before Friday, Chinese media outlets, unlike their Indian counterparts, had devoted little attention to the border row this past week.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statements have been reported in State media outlets, there has, so far, been little in the way of commentaries or analysis, even in newspapers such as the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid that usually devotes considerable space to covering India-China relations.

Much of the State media’s attention has been occupied with on-going tensions with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu or Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. China’s relations with Japan generally occupy greater importance for media outlets, particularly considering that the history of strained ties and incidents such as the Nanjing massacre continue to evoke strong emotions.

Ms. Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters at a regular briefing on Friday she believed India and China “have the willingness to properly resolve relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation”.

“I want to stress here once again the two countries have maintained close communication on border issues, and both countries, we also believe, have the capacity and wisdom to solve the issue through friendly consultations, so as to maintain peace and stability in border areas.”

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday he would go ahead with his scheduled visit to Beijing on May 9, which is expected to lay the groundwork for the Chinese Premier’s visit next month. Ms. Hua said, in response to a question, she, as yet, had no specific information on Mr. Khurshid’s visit.


A 4.8 magnitude earthquake jolted a city in southwest China’s Sichuan Province today, leaving 61 people injured, six days after a strong quake in the same province had killed nearly 200 people.

More than 29,000 houses have been damaged and nearly 47,000 people have been affected by the quake as of 2.30 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Yibin municipal emergency response office.

About 14,000 people have also been relocated.

Direct economic losses are estimated at 291 million yuan (USD 46.7 million), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The earthquake hit the juncture of Changning, Gongxian and Xingwen counties of Yibin City in the morning, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake had hit Lushan County, Ya’an City in the Sichuan Province on Saturday killing nearly 200 people. Over 12,000 people were also injured and nearly two million people were affected by it.

The region has experienced over 4,000 aftershocks in the last few days.

Massive relief and rescue operations have been started in the quake-hit areas.

Sichuan province is located in the foothills of Tibetan plateau which is prone to high velocity earthquakes.

Over 90,000 people were killed or reported missing after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit the region in 2008.


Sunil Tripathi’s body found?

The nightmare may finally be ending for the Tripathi family, albeit on a sad note. On Tuesday, police in Rhode Island found a body from Providence Harbor, about which Providence Police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly said, “It’s very, very possible” that it could be that of Sunil Tripathi (22), who went missing on 16 March.

The consternation among the Tripathis, who had created a Facebook campaign called ‘Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi’, was exacerbated after Sunil was falsely named a suspect in the Boston marathon bombings on social media platforms, Twitter and Reddit. Following numerous false claims that Mr. Tripathi was the suspect in white cap in the photographs and CCTV footage released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), his family is said to have received “ugly” threatening messages.

However, as it turned out, the person falsely linked to Mr. Tripathi was actually Chechen-origin Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19), presently in hospital, and facing charges over the bombings. After the dramatic events leading to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest, including the killing of Dzhokhar’s elder brother Tamerlan in a gunfight with police, the moderator of the Reddit’s “FindBostonBombers” put out a statement of apology

He said, “I’d like to extend the deepest apologies to the family of Sunil Tripathi for any part we may have had in relaying what has turned out to be faulty information. We cannot begin to know what you’re going through and for that we are truly sorry.”

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Providence police department said that the body was found in India Point Park in Providence Harbor and “its identity would be confirmed in an autopsy on Wednesday”. Mr. Tripathi, a philosophy student at Brown University, apparently left behind his ID, wallet and cell phone and was last seen near his apartment, located near the university campus.

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