How can the Middle East improve seismic monitoring?
After the recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, it is not surprising to see countries updating their disaster contingency plans. However in the Middle East, where recent quakes in Turkey and Iran have killed hundreds, many states are working hard to improve their seismic monitoring systems to prevent future loss of life.
In the Middle East, the sultanate of Oman have stated that they are planning to build seven new seismographic stations to monitor possible quakes and tsunamis.
Speaking to the Oman Daily Observer newspaper, Dr Issa el Hussain, the head of Oman’s Earthquake Monitoring Centre at the Sultan Qaboos University said that the network of stations will increase from 13 to 20 with the new additions.
“We hope to bring the seven new stations into operation by mid-year. By the end of this year, we will have a total of 20 seismic stations, monitoring seismic activity in Oman and its surroundings, and also supporting the Tsunami Early Warning System under development at the Meteorology Department,” Hussain told the paper.
Fear of devastation
After the earthquake this weekend in Chile that killed over 700 people and sent a tsunami surging through the Pacific Ocean, Oman is determined to reestablish an effective Tsunami Early Warning System, linking it to the 28 country Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWAS). This system has been design to prevent a repeat of the devastation that was caused by the 2004 'Boxing Day' tsunami that killed over 230,000 people in 12 countries on the Asian subcontinent.
“The Earthquake Monitoring Centre is playing a key part in the implementation of a Tsunami Early Warning System for Oman. If the quake is detected under the sea, and generates vertical movement, it gives cause for issuing a tsunami warning. Consequently, our office will play a major role in the Tsunami Early Warning System,” Hussain said to the Daily Observer.
Other countries in the Middle East are developing their own individual ways to cope with future earthquakes. In Iran, the government believes that the capital, Tehran, has a high chance of being struck by a major earthquake in the near future. As such, there are plans to 'relocate the country's capital'. As the city is home to 12 million people, the government is keen to avoid a repeat of the 2003 earthquake in Bam that saw 40,000 people killed.
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