The big test

Kuwait Times - - Local - By Muna Al-Fuzai Muna@kuwait­times.net

Peo­ple love win­ter and the rainy sea­son, since we rarely get rain. But this year, heavy rain­storms flooded sev­eral ma­jor roads in Kuwait on Fri­day and Satur­day, for the sec­ond time in days. The rains are a big test for gov­ern­ment bod­ies like the min­istry of pub­lic works, the roads author­ity and mu­nic­i­pal­ity, es­pe­cially with me­te­o­rol­o­gists ex­pect­ing rain­fall to con­tinue. Some roads were closed be­cause of wa­ter­log­ging and some streets and park­ing lots were flooded. Streets and main roads also wit­nessed a pres­ence of heavy se­cu­rity and traf­fic po­lice.

The min­istry of so­cial af­fairs has opened shel­ters for peo­ple, which is a good step in such cases, but peo­ple have re­mained in­doors to pro­tect their homes and them­selves. I be­lieve you have to pro­tect your­self and your chil­dren from dan­ger by fol­low­ing some in­struc­tions, and the first is never take risks. Those on the streets dur­ing heavy rain must re­main in a safe place un­til the end of the rain­fall due to the risk of tor­ren­tial floods. Also, do not al­low any­one in your fam­ily to swim in the rain­wa­ter, and you must pre­vent your chil­dren from go­ing out to play dur­ing heavy rain­fall.

Most im­por­tant is to fol­low the news and of­fi­cial me­dia channels’ warn­ings about the pos­si­bil­ity of heavy rain or flood­ing, and the in­struc­tions and guid­ance by the min­istry of in­te­rior. News­pa­pers have pub­lished some analy­ses of the causes of the floods and drainage fail­ures. Some have blamed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­cause drainage cham­bers in all parts of the coun­try have be­come waste dumps. The ac­cu­mu­la­tion of large amounts of waste means no ac­cess for the rain­wa­ter, caus­ing a de­cline in the ef­fi­cacy of the net­work.

Some called for the im­por­tance of chang­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s plan to col­lect garbage dur­ing ex­pected rain, to be trans­ported to des­ig­nated places so as not to drift on the streets. I think the role of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is no less im­por­tant than the role of the min­istry of pub­lic works and the roads author­ity - it should not be seen merely as a waste-dis­posal body.

Some peo­ple have blamed con­trac­tors, and even shared pic­tures show­ing sev­eral pot­holes on the re­cently-opened Jahra bridge af­ter the sur­face as­phalt layer eroded due to the rain. Some ac­tivists ques­tioned what will hap­pen to the bridge af­ter sev­eral years, de­mand­ing the need to re­view the file of the con­trac­tors. Ev­ery gov­ern­ment body is re­spon­si­ble for its du­ties, but most im­por­tant is the need to look at the role of con­trac­tors and fol­low up the work they per­form. Peo­ple’s lives are not some­thing that should be jeop­ar­dized.

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