Natural and Man-made Disasters
" 2012 Riyadh oil truck explosion "
Ali M. AlAwami
Traffic accidents are one of the most dangerous events as they can cause a large number of casualties and property damages. These accidents may happen anywhere in the world and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no exception to this universal problem. As noted by Joffe-Walt, during 2008 to 2009 traffic accidents were the first main cause of road fatalities, it was more than 485,000 traffic accidents. In facts, more than 36,000 were injured and 6,485 citizen have had died. This report will discuss the tragic event which happened in November 2012 in Riyadh. This disaster took many lives and costed a lot of money, as mentioned above these kind of explosions might happen anytime and anywhere especially in petroleum countries such as Saudi Arabia so this report is going to focus on this example to know the main factors of it and some possible solutions.
II. THE ACCIDENT
A. Overview of the Place of Explosion:
Khurais Road is located in the eastern part of Riyadh . It is one of the most crowded roads (Witt) and it is a heavily populated area as well (Silverio). However, the road was still busy when the blast happened during Eid Al-Adha holiday but the crowd was slightly lighter than the other days (Witt).
2. Bad Roads:
As mentioned in the Saudi Gazette report , Saudi roads are ranked the most dangerous roads in the world with an average of 19 deaths daily. According to Zeina Nazer, managing director of intelligent transport systems, “Although Saudi Arabia spends 6 billion US Dollars on the management of the car accidents and 250 million US Dollars on medical care for those injured on Saudi roads annually, the number of fatal road accidents had increased by 10% in 2012” (“Kingdom’s Roads”) .
3. Group of Trucks:
Five Philippines were driving five different trucks that transport fuel. Kebeng was one of them. Kebeng was 43 years old , he used to be working overseas in workers welfare administration (OWWA), it was the first working year for him in Saudi Arabia (Dacanag).
B. How Did the Accident Happen?
On the first of November 2012 at 7:25 a.m. (Silvrio), a group of trucks passed through Khurais Road. One of the trucks drivers lost control as a result of an unexpected car accident on his way (McDowalll). This had forced the driver to change his path and the truck hit one of the bridge bases. Then the truck started to roll down (Khan).
As the truck was rolling, very large amount of an inflamed oil seeped over the area. This resulted in a huge fire distribution in the area of the accident. The fire reached one of the buildings owned by Alzahid, one of the biggest caterpillar equipment suppliers in the world. This building was very nearby the explosion (Khan). In addition, the leak of gases resulted in a number of deaths (“Truck Driver”).
C. The effects of Accident:
23 people were killed as a result of the blast. Furthermore, more than 130 of the individuals were injured in the explosion (Witt).
2. The Cost of the Blast:
Tens of vehicles were burned including a minibus and other cars on the top of the bridge (Alkhatani and Alotaibi). One of the people who were in the place said “ the destruction was everywhere”(Witt). The monetary value was more than 300 million Saudi Riyals (“Truck Drive”).
III. PROBLEM AND CAUSES
Saudi government had established an investigation group from many different Saudi ministries including the ministries of Finance, Interior as well as Civil Defense. The groupworked along side other governmental agencies and summarized the causes in three main points:
A. Car Problems:
The driver was asked if the truck was checked in the day of the blast but there was no clear answer...
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