Written By: Zaid al-Alaya’a & Abdul-Aziz Oudah
Article Date: Oct 3, 2007 - 2:44:24 AM
President Saleh took command of the recovery operation after Sunday evening’s volcanic eruption on Jabal al-Tair Island off the coast of Yemen.
President Saleh arrived in the Hodeida Governorate on Monday to lead the recovery operation after a volcanic eruption on the island of Jabal al-Tair on Sunday evening around 7 p.m.
There are no sedentary inhabitants on the island, but a Yemeni Navy base was located there before it was destroyed by Sunday’s volcano’s eruption. Initially, eight employees of the Yemeni Navy were reported missing after the Navy evacuated the island.
Representatives of the Navy in Hodeida say that they have found three bodies and one survivor from the eight people that were earlier reported missing.
Two survivors from the Navy have also been rescued by a NATO ship and are currently being treated on a Canadian ship, CNN reported.
President Saleh gave a speech on Monday evening ordering the government to provide financial support for the injured survivors.
“Volcanic lava has covered the island completely, with some of it reaching the Red Sea,” said an anonymous source in the Navy. “The island is on fire.”
At this point, President Saleh himself is leading the rescue operation.
The Ministry of Oil and Minerals announced last Sunday that it had recorded several earthquakes and had found indicators of volcanic activity in the southern part of the island.
Minister of Oil and Minerals, Khalid Bahah told the sabanews agency,“the Authority of Geology is following and monitoring the volcanic activity in the Jabal al-Tair Island.” A team of geologists from Sana’a University led by Bahah is heading to the area to document the event and prepare a field report.
“Several earthquakes ranging from 2–3.6 degrees on the Richter scale were reported in the last two weeks near the island,” said director of the record in Dhamar, Jamal Sha’alan.
Other earthquake recorders have also reported some activity in the area, but the most recent earthquake the area witnessed before this was in 1996, said Sha’alan. He also said that the final results of the report will be given by the geological teams that are going to study the eruption.
The island is located in the western part of the Hodeida Governorate in a place called the waist of the Red Sea. The mountain is 1,200 meters high and consists of a volcanic basaltic crest.
According to geographical data, the island is part of a recent chain of active volcanic areas in the Red Sea. The island was created by volcanic eruptions in the 18th and early 19th century. The island is said to be less than one million years old.
Director of the Island Development Authority, Yahya al-Kain’ai said that the Authority embarked on work after the first earthquakes were reported and fishing boats have been prohibited from coming close to the area for safety reasons.
Canadian ships have joined the rescue effort and are working alongside Yemeni ships to search for survivors.
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