Schools, ministries closed; people advised to stay home

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday that there were no injuries or deaths due to the unstable weather conditions and heavy rainfall. Director of Emergency Medical Department Munther Al-Jalahmeh said that his department has made all preparations to deal with effects of the ongoing unstable weather conditions in the country. Dr Jalahmeh stressed that the Emergency Medical Department is in constant contact with other emergency bodies represented by the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, Ministry of Interior and Meteorological experts to follow up on the latest weather conditions in the country. He said that his department has dealt with 205 emergency cases, including 157 asthma and heart cases, noting that most of the cases were treated at home. He confirmed that 74 ambulances were put on alert, attributing delays to the weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Health (MoH) official Dr Rehab Al-Watyan said that 42 health centers operated overtime yesterday. Health centers operating in Al-Asimah Health District are Sulaibikaht, Daiya, Adaliya, Kaifan and Yarmouk, she said.Health centers operating in Hawally Health District are Jabriya, West Salmiya, Salwa, Rumaithiya, Bayan, Al-Salam and South Sabah Al-Salem.Health centers operating in Farwaniya Health District are, Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Sabah Al-Nasser, South Al-Ferdaws, South Ardiya, Al-Rabiya, Manahi Al-Osaimi, South Al-Jleeb, Al-Andalus and South Farwaniya.Health centers operating in Jahra District are, Saad Al-Abdullah Block two, Jahra, Al-Qasr, South Sulaibiya, Al-Waha and Abdaly. Health centers operating in Al-Ahmadi district are, Al-Rigga, Bnaider, Al-Sabahiya Western, Fahaheel, new Ali Sabah Al-Salem, Wafrah, Sabah Al-Ahmad, Khiran, Khiran residential, Al-Dahar, Fintas, Hadiya, Western Mubarak Al-Kabeer and Abu Fatira. On the other hand, Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Bassel Al-Sabah and Undersecretary Dr Mustafa Redha have ordered the directors of health areas and hospitals to have field trips to hospitals and health centers to inspect the progress of work.

People advised to stay home
Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD) had advised people to stay home and not venture outside due to rainwater flooding some roads. Director General of KFSD Lieutenant General Khaled Al-Mekrad said that fire engine teams were ready to respond to any type of emergency. He urged people to call the 112 number in case of emergency, indicating that the KFSD had received over 50 calls responding to various urgent matters and situations. Meanwhile, the KFSD urged citizens to follow safety instructions issued by the meteorology center and state media during heavy rain. People were urged to turn off their dwellings’ exterior lights and make sure that drainage systems were working properly to avoid flooding. Also, windows and doors should be firmly closed to prevent water seepage, said the KFSD. Firemen dealt with more than 200 calls resulting from rain, most of which reported people trapped in their vehicles, and basements filled with water with people inside. There were other incidents reported of trees falling, car shades collapsing and lifts malfunctioning. Boats and water pumps were used in most cases.

The Interior Ministry coordinated with the Ministry of Public Works to address the emergency situation caused by the accumulation of rainwater in some roads, which caused traffic congestions and floods. A press release by the Ministry of Interior said that road users were urged to strictly follow traffic rules and regulations so that police officers could deal with the current situation. The ministry also called on citizens and expatriates to avoid venturing out of their dwellings and asked them to contact the emergency number 112 to report any urgent situation. It also urged sea goers to avoid going to the sea. Kuwait National Guard also responded and sent teams to secure vital buildings including the Central Bank of Kuwait and Information Ministry, while other teams worked with firefighters to handle water accumulations at the Fifth Ring Road. Meanwhile, municipal teams rushed to clear roads and drain water resulting from the heavy rain. The teams, especially the ones operating in Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate, worked with other government bodies to clean roads from any obstacles that could face drivers.

No power outage
In the meantime, the Ministry of Water and Electricity said that no power outages or malfunctions had been reported at power stations because of the heavy rain. Undersecretary of the ministry Eng Mohammad Bosheri said that power cuts in some houses and dwellings might be attributed to water seeping into electrical circuits, which shuts off to prevent damage. The ministry urged people to continually monitor the power board in their respective homes to make sure that no damage has been done, said the official, affirming that emergency teams of the ministry were ready to address any situation.

Air navigation normal
Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in the meantime that air traffic at Kuwait International Airport proceeded normally despite the heavy rain. The air traffic at the airport was normal, director of the air navigation department, Eng Imad Al-Sanoussihe said, refuting at the same time news reports over suspension of air traffic. Kuwait Airways said in a press statement that flights operation from Kuwait International Airport proceeded normally and that the operational schedule is continuing and there is no cancellation of flights. Furthermore, Kuwait’s Ports Authority said that the navigation traffic in the three ports of Shuwaikh, Doha and Shuaiba did not sustain any halt. It said that wind speeds and horizontal visibility were still at the safe limit for safety of navigation. It added that all its technical cadres of marine operations managers were ready to deal with any circumstances as a result of the heavy rain.

Schools, ministries closed
Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Hamed Al-Azmi had announced that all schools in addition to colleges and institutes affiliated with the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) and Kuwait University (KU) were closed yesterday due to unstable weather conditions. According to directives from the cabinet, the decision was made to protect students as well as administrative and teaching staff from harm. The cabinet also issued a decision to suspend work at ministries, government institutions, and schools because of the weather condition.
DGCA’s forecaster Dherar Al-Ali said that the level of rainwater in Kuwait city as a result of the thunderstorm reached 58 millimeters while winds reached 64 kilometers per hour km/h. At Kuwait International Airport, rainwater reached 40.4 millimeters with wind speed registering at 95 km/h, while in Salmiya and Failka Island, the level of water and wind speed reached, 35.2 and 50 millimeters as well as 113, and 70 km/h respectively, said the official. – KUNA