Specialists save 500-year-old tree in Saudi Arabia's Asir region from falling apart

The specialists connected the tree trunk and all its limbs in order to prevent it from cracking and falling. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 27 February 2020

Specialists save 500-year-old tree in Saudi Arabia's Asir region from falling apart

  • Its trunk was gradually cracked and its tissues damaged

ABHA: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has successfully protected a tree over 500 years old from damage and falling after its trunk was gradually cracked in Asir, south Saudi Arabia.

With the help of specialists, the ministry connected the tree trunk and all its limbs in order to prevent it from cracking and falling, after its tissues were damaged due to paving cement in the area surrounding its trunk.

The director of the ministry’s branch in Qena governorate, Mohammed Al-Ghuraissi, said that the tree is distinguished by its magnitude and considered a historical location passed down by generations of residents who have guarded it in Asir. He noted that the limbs that were damaged due to cement layers nearby were treated.

He told Arab News that the tree is known by the name “Al-Roq’a” (Patch) and that it has sheltered people over the years, with its location central to gatherings, meetings and conversations.

He noted that based on recent studies conducted by the ministry, the tree dates back more than 500 years, which was confirmed by the frequent accounts of historians and key figures who spoke about its big size and bifurcated roots.

He said that the tree roots had penetrated the well due to its ongoing expansion, and the well — which is in good condition — is renowned for its depth and water consumption. The well, along with the old tree, have become a stop for tourists of all nationalities in Qena governorate.

He said that the tree’s scientific name is “Atteen Al-Binqali.” Specialized teams conducted scientific research to determine the tree’s vital characteristics, age and factors that affect it.

The trunk’s circumference is 7.7 meters and it is 20 meters tall, with a supporting stone from the direction of the valley, as well as structures around the tree built by the Qena municipality to protect it from flash floods.

Al-Ghuraissi said that working groups were formed to observe the tree’s condition. Rotten sections have been removed due to a cement layer.

The tree trunk was gradually cracked, which almost caused its falling and death, and it was treated by removing rocks and the tree’s rotting parts, in addition to connecting its trunk and all its limbs in order to prevent it from cracking and falling, he added.

He noted that supports were installed for the huge branches to enhance the tree’s stability, and that specialized teams treated damaged parts with the necessary pesticides, under the supervision of experts and specialists from the ministry.


Saudi forces intercept ballistic missiles over Riyadh and Jazan

Updated 29 March 2020

Saudi forces intercept ballistic missiles over Riyadh and Jazan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles toward Riyadh and the southern city of Jazan late on Saturday.

Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition helping Yemen's legitimate government, said the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed at 11:23 p.m. on Saturday two ballistic missiles over Riyadh.

At least one missile has also been intercepted over the southern city of Jazan, according to Al Arabiya sources.

Al-Maliki said the missiles were fired by the "Houthi terrorist militia" from Sanaa and Saada in Yemen toward civilian objects and civilians in the Kingdom.

Lt. Col. Mohammed Al Hammadi, media spokesperson for the Civil Defense in the Riyadh region, said two civilians from separate neighborhoods in the capital were injured by falling debris from the intercepted missiles as they exploded in mid-air.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi terrorists have previously targeted Riyadh and other Saudi cities with missiles, rockets and drones.

Three explosions were heard in the curfew-locked capital before midnight amid efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, residents said on social media.

It was the first major assault on Saudi Arabia since the Houthis offered last September to halt attacks on the Kingdom after devastating twin strikes on Saudi oil installations.