Dozens of Farwaniya tenants forced to sleep outdoors after shock move
KUWAIT: Dozens of expatriate workers in Kuwait were forced to sleep outdoors for five nights after the electricity and water in the building where they lived was cut in a bid to force single men from their flats. This comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Municipality to evict “bachelors” living in Kuwaiti family areas. Block 2 in Farwaniya is included in the “bachelor ban”, although none of the single men – who are legal residents of Kuwait – were given prior notice that they needed to vacate their apartments.
“They should have informed us earlier. It’s been five nights of nightmares. Why didn’t they inform us ahead of time rather than just cut the electricity and water? We are paying rent regularly and this is what we get?” asked a Filipino worker, who was among the tenants of the traditional villa turned into flats in block 2 of Farwaniya.
The Filipino tenant said that they were kept in the dark as to why this happened to them or whether the electricity and power supply will be back in the next few hours or days. “It was hell, because it’s too hot. It was as if we were in a graveyard because of the total darkness,” he told Kuwait Times. Electric supply was cut in the morning of Oct 1, and the next day, the water supply was cut too. “When I asked the haris, he said it was just a power outage, and maybe by afternoon electricity would be restored. The next day I went to the haris again, but he wasn’t in his room. On the third day, the food in the refrigerator got spoiled. My dog never stopped barking because of the darkness,” he said.
“When I called the haris, he said the Municipality cut our electricity and water and probably it will resume the supply by Thursday afternoon. But on Thursday evening, he said all tenants of the building must leave as per the instructions of the building owner,” the Filipino tenant said. He said people regularly paid the rent and there were no issues of non-payment among the tenants.
“Yes, many occupants are bachelors, but it’s not our problem. They accepted us when we wanted a flat. So they should be humane enough to settle our problem. I started looking for a new place only on Thursday after spending the nights in my car to be able to sleep comfortably in the AC. But it’s not easy – you cannot sleep properly inside a car,” he added.
An Indian family also slept in their car for four nights with their four-year-old son. “I was crying for my son – I can bear the suffering, but I am concerned about my son. He is only four years old and he has to sleep in the car,” he said. “They promised to return the supply of the electricity soon and nothing happened,” he said.
Kuwait Times witnessed several people spending the nights outdoors, some of them in parked trucks and cars, while others slept on the ground. “I have no place to go; I asked my friend in another building to allow me to wash. I use the public toilet to clean myself,” said another tenant.
Family occupants of the building were told by the haris to endure the heat until the electricity is back. But he admitted it won’t happen until everything is settled at the Municipality, prompting the tenants to look for other places to live. The building’s tenants are mostly from India, Nepal, China, Philippines and other Asian countries. Kuwait Times contacted the Municipality for comment, but it did not respond.
By Ben Garcia