x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rumours that UAE could be struck by earthquake 'false'

Rumours circulating on Arabic social media that the UAE could soon be hit by powerful earthquake have been denied by the US Geological Survey.

Buildings in Dubai Media City were evacuated following an earthquake in Iran last week. Sarah Dea / The National
Buildings in Dubai Media City were evacuated following an earthquake in Iran last week. Sarah Dea / The National

Rumours circulating on Arabic social media that the UAE could soon be hit by powerful earthquake have been denied by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

According to state news agency WAM, the alleged reports said GCC countries would be hit by severe tremors, measuring between 9 and 10 on the richter scale, between April 25 and 30.

The UAE's National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology issued a statement last night rubbishing the claims and said that the USGS "did not issue any report of an imminent earthquake in the Gulf".

The US organisation also confirmed on its Twitter feed that it "does not make specific earthquake predictions", nor does it have the ability to do so with that level of accuracy.

Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member and Ruler of Sharjah told Sharjah TV that there was no cause to panic and stated that "no one can predict when earthquake may strike".

The rumours spread quickly, and follow a fortnight in which the UAE has felt the effects of two earthquakes in Iran.

In those cases, a number of buildings across the country were evacuated as a precaution, but no serious damage or injury was reported.

WAM stated that Sheikh Sultan reassured residents that any further seismic activity in that region, 800km away, could only have the effect of making high-rise buildings sway.

KSinclair@thenational.ae