October 12, 2011 / 2:20 PM / 6 years ago

Chemical leak in Saudi port city contained: authorities

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - A chemical leak in Dammam, in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, has forced some schools to shut down and sent 13 people to hospital with breathing problems, sources and civil defense authorities said on Wednesday.

The leak has been brought under control, officials said. The civil defense authority said in a statement that it was notified of the leak late on Tuesday.

“There’s a cloud over the industrial city,” Major General Mohammed al-Ghamdi, director of civil defense in the Eastern Province, told al-Ekhbariya television.

The port city of Dammam is the third-largest in the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

A civil defense official said the toxic gas leaked through a safety valve following a reaction between three chemical components; nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon.

Local media said the civil defense identified the company affected by the leakage as Middle East Engineering Limited. Calls to the company by Reuters went unanswered.

All government schools were ordered shut while the civil defense did not allow anyone to the area, local media said.

The gas is expected to remain in the air for 48 hours, the civil defense authority statement said.

Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Mahmoud Habboush, Writing by Humeyra Pamuk, Editing by Sami Aboudi

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