So an ‘Earthquake’ hit Qatar (again) – Here’s everything you need to know.

(I’ve gone ahead and used copy from my last post because a lot is still relevant from last week).

Everyone is talking about now discussing the stronger Qatar Quake that happened. Now it’s more of a sway than a Quake. Over at QSTP the feeling was quite smooth; this time it was like the table was gyrating in a circular motion (I’m thinking hoolahoops). Since it was the second time, I immediate knew it was… STOP!  tremor time (just a quick MC Hammer hat tip there). Everyone started to evacuate quickly. Good response time. This time there were additional rules, like not standing underneath any structures that could collapse. (nice!)

After evacuating the building, I got onto the Tweet machine to see who else felt it. Some thought they were dreaming, some felt nothing and thought it was a joke, and most people were surprised. (Yes, the same responses as last time).  Not many jokes about it this time. Either people were having a ‘oh no, this is actually a thing now’ moment OR they spent all their good jokes on the last tremor. People felt it in Bin Mahmoud, Westbay, Education City area, Old Salata, Airport Road, The Pearl, and other areas.

So what’s the deal? We didn’t really have an earthquake, it was just the aftershock from an Earthquake in Iran Pakistan border. Reports say that their earthquake was  7.8 in magnititude (last one was 6.4 in magnitude). It was felt in UAE and Bahrain too.
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/16/earthquake-hits-iran-pakistan-border

So what happened in Qatar? I was actually happy to see so many people tweeting pics of buildings that were evacuated.
A few that did a great job taking this seriously were QSTP, Ministry of Defence, Qatar Airways, some buildings in the Pearl (yes only some took it seriously.), Al Mana Towers, ictQatar, and The Pearl itself restricted access into the location for a while.

I actually asked people to take note of whether or not their building did anything. You’ll know if you can trust them now or not. You’ll also know that you should put in a complaint to get the management to take things seriously.

It was a different feeling for different people. Some felt nothing, some said that it was quite extreme. Personally, I think that for most people that live here in Qatar and haven’t experienced an earthquake, their reactions might be slightly exaggerated. Having said that, if you were in higher floors in buildings, then you would have felt it much more than others (wider range of motion, albeit slower). That’s physics!

Let’s look at this from a positive perspective. Luckily, since this was a tiny little motion, perhaps it was a good thing. Perhaps this will show off the low quality buildings and highlight the ones that were constructed very well?
According to a friend working on Westbay projects, the towers all comply with Quake Code regulations. That’s a comfort.

Someone kindly tweeted a link to Earthquake Safety Measures. Thanks @neethatx.

Now, people said that it was a shock (no pun intended), since it was the first time ever that this happened. That’s not true.

In 1998 there was quite a shake up which caused a few pot holes to form.

On the 20th of July 2010 the Metreology department confirmed there was a slight tremor, but it was in the north east of the country and not many people felt it. Source

On the 18th of January 2011, there was a post on iCNN stating that a slight quake (most probably another aftershock) occured for 20 seconds. Source It was later confirmed that it was due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan that caused the aftershock. Source

On the 9th of April 2012 there was an earthquake that hit Southern Iran and tremors were felt across Doha. Source.

So there you have it everyone. Stay calm when it happens, check out the quick guide of what to do above, make sure to tweet AFTER you’ve exited the building, and stay safe 😀

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.