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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Day off in Kuwait as the country is battered by high winds and rain

Forecasters at Kuwait's meteorological department expect conditions will improve incrementally throughout the day

High winds and heavy rain hit the usually-arid state of Kuwait on Tuesday, leading to road washouts and closures, as the government scrambled to minimise damages.

Kuwait's parliament declared Tuesday a holiday for all ministries, schools and universities to avoid accidents and traffic-related incidents on the country’s major highways.

Forecasters at Kuwait's meteorological department expect conditions will improve incrementally throughout the day.

The fire service directorate said it received more than 160 calls on Tuesday, mostly from people whose cars were caught in floods or had flooding in their basements. They said there were no serious injuries.

The director of the fire service said in a press conference that his teams were on alert and ready to respond.

Kuwait’s interior ministry released a statement urging people to remain in their homes because of road washouts. The public works ministry and Kuwaiti police are working on clearing flooded highways, and underpasses, the statement said.

Undersecretary of Kuwait's Ministry of Electricity and Water Mohammad Boushehri said there were no problems with the power grid, but noted that power cuts were normal in such weather conditions.

Kuwait's Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday said that air traffic at Kuwait International Airport is proceeding normally, refuting earlier news reports that flights have been suspended.

Dr Mohammad Hadi Al Huwaila, a Kuwaiti parliamentarian said the storm highlighted the need for the government to form a crisis management commission to cut losses and minimise damages in the future. In a statement on Twitter he posted images of a draft legislation he had previously submitted to parliament calling for the establishment of such a body.

Meanwhile, Kuwaitis took to social media networks to share images and videos of the storm. A hashtag, "Kuwait is drowning," was trending on Twitter on Tuesday.

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