One dead in flooding as heavy rains hit Kuwait

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Residents and police gather near a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Municipal workers drain water from a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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A man removes debris from a flooded street in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, following flash floods on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Damaged cars are pictured following heavy rain in a flooded parking lot in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Municipal workers drain water from a flooded underpass in Al-Mangaf district, south of Kuwait City, early in the morning on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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People check the damage in a residential area following heavy rain in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Damaged cars are pictured following heavy rain in a flooded parking lot in Al-Fahaheel district, south of Kuwait City, on November 10, 2018.(AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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One dead in flooding as heavy rains hit Kuwait

JEDDAH: Flash floods after heavy rains in Kuwait killed one man Saturday and damaged roads, bridges and homes, officials said, as several oil firms and ministries announced a state of emergency.
The Ministry of Health said the man, aged 30, was swept away by the flooding as he tried to rescue his family from their home, which was submerged in water in Al-Fahaheel area in the east.
An unspecified number of people were also reported injured in traffic accidents caused by the rains.
Several vehicles in many areas of the desert kingdom were washed away by the floods, particularly in newly-build residential areas, AFP journalists said.
Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-­Ghanim promised on Saturday that the family of the Kuwaiti citizen killed by heavy rains on Friday night would not be “left in the lurch.”
“The family of the martyr of the Al-­Fahaheel floods, Ahmad Al­-Fadhli, will not be let down, facing life challenges alone,” he said in a press statement following Al­-Fadhli’s funeral procession.
He added that he had to attend the funeral since he is the representative of the Kuwaiti people.
The Kuwaiti army and the national guard launched search operations as authorities set aside several locations to receive residents threatened by flooding.
The ministries of oil and electricity as well as several oil companies announced a state of emergency, and the government held an urgent cabinet session on Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah chaired the meeting and said that officials will be investigated and those who failed in their duties to prevent the flooding will be held accountable.
The state news agency KUNA, quoting the ministry of education, said that private and public schools would be closed on Sunday.
Kuwait’s meteorological office has issued weather warnings for the coming hours, with an increasing potential for spotty and thundery showers.
The unstable weather gripping the country is likely to persist later on Saturday with a chance of intermittent downpours at varying intensities, meteorologist Abdulaziz Al­-Qarawi told KUNA.
Weather conditions are expected to gradually improve after midday tomorrow, he indicated.
Bad weather accompanied by torrential rains and flash flooding has hit several countries in the region, including Jordan where 12 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 tourists forced to flee the famed ancient desert city of Petra.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.