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Rain overwhelms utilities: officials

KUWAIT: A Kuwait Municipality worker poses with his smartphone as his team works on draining water from a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf, south of Kuwait City, on Saturday. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Director of the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD) Maj Gen Khalid Al-Mekrad said his department received on Friday up to 251 calls for help and that the personnel rescued some 891 persons. The firefighters scrambled into action in various regions including Sabah Al-Ahmad residential district where they had to use rubber dinghies to salvage and help stricken residents stranded amid the swamp. Ahmad Al-Manfouhi, Director General of Kuwait Municipality, said the municipality received 772 contacts from people in need for rescue. Workers removed 610 water tankers and 2,047 trucks blocking roads. Saud Al-Naqi, deputy chairman of the roads public authority, said the volume of rain water that swamped Kuwaiti territories was too large for the sewers to receive. Other officials attending the conference urged sea goers, namely those on the islands, to return to the mainland instantly, in anticipation of possible further downpours.

20,027 reports
In the meantime, Kuwait’s Minister of Interior Undersecretary Lieutenant General Essam Al-Nahham announced that the ministry’s operations center received during the past few days, since outbreak of heavy rainfall, up to 20,027 reports including 3,000 ones of serious situations. He took part in a joint press conference, held by government bodies taking part in the emergency high committee at the Ministry of Interior operations center at His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Building, on procedures that have been taken to cope with the record heavy rainfall and future plans. The ministry prepared operation chambers to work all over the day as well as administrative ones in the southern areas of the county that were severely affected yesterday by the rains. It is currently preparing new chambers in the northern parts of Kuwait to prepare for the expected rains, Nahham said. He called on citizens and expatriates to ignore rumors regarding the weather status, and to listen only to the appropriate and true information from the official sources through Kuwait official TV channel. He praised the distinguished efforts exerted by various ministries and governmental bodies that were in charge of this crisis since the outbreak of the heavy rainfalls. He affirmed Prime Minister Deputy and Minister of Interior’s keenness to be present at the operation center to follow up on latest developments of the situation in Kuwait, and to issue any needed orders to facilitate the traffic flow.

Ministers receive calls
In other news, Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Lieutenant General Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah received phone calls from Bahrain’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and Omani Interior Minister Hamoud al-Busaidi. Security information department of the Ministry of Interior said in a press statement that the two ministers expressed their willingness to offer all kinds of support to Kuwait, expressing their sincere wishes for the security and safety of Kuwaitis and residents on their land.

Meanwhile, Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Army Lieutenant-General Mohammad Khaled Al-Khodr received a telephone call from his Omani counterpart Lieutenant General Ahmad Al-Nabhani. In his call, the Omani official asked about the situation in Kuwait amid extreme weather conditions. He expressed readiness of the Omani Army to harness its capabilities and provide all kinds of support to the brotherly Kuwaiti people, the Kuwaiti Army’s directorate of moral guidance and public relations said in a press statement Saturday evening. Lieutenant General Khodr expressed his gratitude and thanks to brothers of the Sultanate of Oman and its army in particular, the statement added.

In the meantime, Iraq expressed solidarity with Kuwait and Jordan in the face of heavy rainfall in the two countries. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdulmahdi is following with concern the unprecedented rainfall in Kuwait and floods in Jordan, the premier office said in a statement. He expressed solidarity with the Kuwaiti and Jordanian people, paying respect for the families of the victims and wishing speedy recovery for the injured. Abdulmahdi said the Iraqi government was ready to provide support if needed. – KUNA

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