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Homes, businesses damaged by rainwater; municipality urged to handle complaints

November 7, 2018

Co-ops affected; directors authorized to make decision to cancel school

KUWAIT: Life returned to normal on the streets of Kuwait after heavy rains hit the country on Monday night and early yesterday morning, causing flooding on several main roads. Some businesspeople suffered serious losses, while employees took advantage of the day off to enjoy at home or outside. Students also cheered after schools and colleges were closed due to the unstable weather. Videos shared on social media showed vehicles stranded due to flash floods.

Samuel Somik, a salesman at a baqala in Hawally, told Kuwait Times that rainwater damaged bags of rice and other products stored on the floor. “It was not a huge loss, as rain a day earlier made me take some precautions. But the situation was worse for my friends in Jleeb supermarkets,” he said.

Ahmed Wahib, a salesman at a clothing store, said rainwater leaked into his shop in Souq Salmiya from the ceiling onto the clothes, causing material damages. “The ceiling leaked water into my shop and damaged some of the goods. I walked this morning into a lake on the floor of my shop. It took me a lot of time to wipe the floor and assess the damage,” he said. Wahib was not one of the lucky ones who took the day off and rest at home, but his wife, a teacher at a private school, took their children to the park to enjoy the sunny morning, as her classrooms were flooded.

For Emad Karam, his business did not suffer any damage, but his home turned into an ‘indoor lake’. “Rainwater got inside my bedrooms and living room, and even the electricity went off. I did not leave Lebanon to live with no electricity all over again,” he said sarcastically. Karam said he was not surprised by what happened to his home, pointing out he had faced similar flooding previously. He told Kuwait Times he had changed all his furniture after it was damaged by mud mixed with rainwater, as well as electronic devices.

Karam said this heavy rain revealed the corruption and negligence by some people in their work, along with flaws and mistakes. “The streets are cracking. Homes are flooded. Commercial centers are inundated. The funny thing is that the rain only lasted a few hours. What if it rains longer the next time?” He suggested that Kuwait Municipality should open the door to people’s complaints and follow up the damage caused by rain in their homes and buildings by specialized engineers, evaluate them and report their causes.

Co-ops affected
In the meantime, around 15 co-op societies have been affected by the heavy rainfall, said Abdul Aziz Shuaib, assistant undersecretary for cooperation affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL), adding that coordination is in progress with state departments to assess the damage. Shuaib added that he would meet representatives from the affected co-ops to assess the damage and losses and discuss means to help them.

Meanwhile, chairman of Kuwait Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies (KUCCS), Khaled Al-Hudhaiban announced that he toured the coops affected by the rain and noted that no casualties were reported in any of them. Hudhaiban added that work was nonetheless going on and that most co-ops are still providing services to consumers. He added KUCCS has formed a special emergency team to follow up the situation in various affected co-ops.

Separately, MSAL’s assistant undersecretary for social care Sheikha Al-Adaani said all residents of social care houses are fine and that none of them were affected by the weather conditions. Adwani added that her sector’s employees were all on alert since the beginning of the rainfall and went out on field trips to make sure all residents – especially children and the elderly – were fine. MSAL’s assistant undersecretary for social development Hana Al-Hajri said in collaboration with her colleague for financial and administrative affairs Hamad Sayer Al-Enezi, both sectors were deployed to inspect various wedding halls to examine the damage caused by the rain.

Be on alert
In the meantime, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and its various sectors are currently preparing to face any contingency resulting from the bad weather conditions, said official sources, noting that educational zone directors have been told to be on alert in the early hours of the morning to contact various stage supervisors and assess the damage caused by the rain. The source added that school directors were instructed to file immediate reports about their respective schools and deal with the situation on the ground. The sources added that MoE is in constant contact with Kuwait Meteorological Center and that educational zone directors have been authorized to make the right decisions whether to cancel school today after consulting school directors, who will judge whether to cancel morning assemblies.