Panel debates rain damage – Met: Wet weather till Monday – Dozens of mines defused

KUWAIT: The government is activating a contingency plan in full in anticipation of further rainfall, Minister of State for Housing Affairs Jenan Bushehri announced yesterday, as the National Assembly’s housing committee discussed with the government extensive damage caused by torrential rains to Sabah Al-Ahmad residential area. Bushehri said she told the panel that she ordered the formation of a committee to investigate what happened in that area, which is relatively new. She promised to announce the results of the investigation committee and to take legal action against those responsible.
Bushehri also announced that the government has suspended dealings with six contracting companies and an engineering office involved in road and housing contracts with the government. Unprecedented heavy rains lashed Kuwait in November, causing severe damage to several residential areas and main roads that lawmakers claim was due to bad infrastructure because of corruption in executing contracts. The government and the Assembly have formed investigation committees to find out what happened and who is responsible.

Head of the housing committee MP Faisal Al-Kandari said the committee held a general debate on the destruction in Sabah Al-Ahmad and insisted that the Assembly wants all those responsible be held to account and not only suspend their contracts. On compensating citizens whose properties were damaged in the recent deluge, Bushehri said the Cabinet decided in its session on Monday task a team chaired by Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh to follow up on the issue and receive complaints.

Kuwait’s meteorological office has warned of the likelihood of more unstable weather starting tomorrow. The inclement weather gripping the country is likely to persist with a chance of intermittent downpours of varying intensities, meteorologist Abdulaziz Al-Qarawi told KUNA yesterday. Friday’s weather will see sporadic rainfall during the day with wind speeds of 60 km per hour, leading to a seven-foot rise in sea levels and low visibility in some areas, he indicated. Unpredictable weather patterns are expected to continue until Monday morning, Qarawi added, urging people to visit for all the latest weather details.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry said yesterday that it had received 20 reports of the appearance of mines due to the heavy rainfall in the desert over the past days. The relations and security information department at the ministry, as part of an awareness campaign, renewed warnings to citizens and expatriates to avoid any unfamiliar objects that might appear in desert areas. Such uncovered objects and items may turn out to be abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), the ministry warned.

It added that it has received, during the past three days, numerous reports of military remnants in the desert areas of Jahra governorate. The explosives squad immediately rushed to the area and handled the objects, the statement said, noting that its personnel discovered 48 mines. The ministry called on citizens and residents, namely desert campers, to call 112 when finding any strange objects that may appear following sand drifts due to the recent heavy rains. It also urged them to take extra precaution and refrain from touching any of these objects, which might be dangerous military leftovers.

By B Izzak and Agencies