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Some tenants in Fahaheel fail to save cars parked in the basement

Around 20 cars were parked in the basement when it got flooded

KUWAIT: Oliver Ballesteros’s vehicle submerged in rainwater at the basement of his building in Fahaheel on Makkah Street. — Photos by Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Oliver Ballesteros, 33, from the Philippines, lives in a residential building in Fahaheel on Makkah Street. His building’s basement was flooded with rainwater during Friday’s thunderstorm. At 4 pm, he was preparing to leave on his regular taxi duty, when rain started falling. He decided to remain in his apartment and watched a basketball game instead. Outside, the rain continued for another hour.

He then heard someone from the ground floor appealing to tenants to take their cars out of the basement because the water had started to rise. By the time he ran down from his third-floor apartment, his two cars were already filled with water. He owns a Subaru, a service car, and a Toyota Camry, which he drives as a taxi. His Camry’s engine suddenly stopped halfway out from the basement. “I failed to save my two cars,” Oliver said in disbelief.

“I wasn’t concerned at all because I haven’t experienced such flooding in my 10 years in Kuwait. I thought it was just an ordinary rainy day, but when I heard the commotion from the ground floor, I started to panic, but it was too late. The water in the basement was already knee-high and rose very quickly in a matter of a minute or two,” he recalled.
“I managed to start the engine of my Camry and drove it quickly to the access door, but the engine suddenly stalled,” he said. “The next thing I knew, I was stuck in the car and overpowered by the raging water. Thank God, some Filipinos from my apartment tried their best to help me, but the car had stopped and water current was strong. So I abandoned the car after tying it with a rope,” Oliver said in frustration.

Safer grounds
It was around 5:30 pm when the water on Makkah Street started to rise. Some tenants of the same building where Oliver lives had just returned from work. One of those tenants is Christopher Hernandez, who with luck and presence of mind, managed to drive his car to safety. “I arrived from work around 5:30 pm and noticed the flooding on Makkah Street. I said to myself probably it is safer to park the car outside. So I looked for safer grounds and parked my car away from our building. Before I got out of the car, I waited a bit because the rain was still heavy. When I realized that it won’t stop, I crossed the flooded street. When I approached my building, I noticed the basement was already filled with water. I saw Oliver trying to save his Camry, but it was too late,” he recalled.

Benjie was also stuck in traffic in Egaila when the basement of his building was submerged. “My car is down there,” he said, pointing at the flooded basement. “I arrived late to save my car – it was already midnight. We were stuck in traffic from 7 pm in Egaila. I had left my car because my friend had offered me a ride. None of us had expected this. My friend’s three cars are down there,” he added.

Yesterday, four pumps were trying to extract the water from the basement. Some residents of the twin buildings estimated around 20 cars were parked in the basement when it got flooded. Fintas, Fahaheel, Mangaf, Mahboula and Abu Halifa were some of the many areas affected by the flooding on Friday. Many streets were waterlogged and impassable. Hundreds of cars were damaged, with at least one reported casualty.

By Ben Garcia

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