Middle East

Kuwait halts flights as torrential rains lash region

Kuwait on Thursday halted flights at its international airport after heavy rains flooded the Gulf state's capital, diverting incoming flights to neighbouring countries not affected by deadly storms.

A boat makes its way past a car on the flooded main road of the Daeya area of Kuwait city late on November 14, 2018
A boat makes its way past a car on the flooded main road of the Daeya area of Kuwait city late on November 14, 2018 (AFP)

Kuwait on Thursday halted flights at its international airport after heavy rains flooded the Gulf state's capital, diverting incoming flights to neighbouring countries not affected by deadly storms.

"Rains overnight Wednesday submerged main passages at the airport, resulting in diverting several incoming flights to Dubai, Bahrain and Dammam airports," said the head of Kuwait's civil aviation, Sheikh Salman al-Sabah.

All departing flights were cancelled, Sheikh Salman told AFP.

Life in the desert emirate came to a standstill in the past two days because of heavy rains, estimated by the national meteorological department at 96 mm (3.78 inches) -- almost equal to the country's average annual rainfall.

The deluge has flooded bridges and main roads and damaged buildings in residential areas.

A stateless man drowned on Saturday as he tried to rescue his family from their flooded home in Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti government ordered public offices and schools shut on Wednesday and Thursday as authorities stood on high alert and urged people to stay at home.

Torrential rains have swept across the region, with Jordan hit the worst. At least 13 people have died in flash floods in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia's civil defence said on Thursday it rescued 46 people from a bus after they had become stranded by floods in the city of Hafer al-Batin, near the Kuwaiti border.

Kuwaiti parliament on Wednesday held an urgent session in which the government was accused of failing to take measures to protect civilians and infrastructure.

It ordered a committee to investigate who is responsible.

The government last week sacked two top public works ministry officials. Public Works Minister Hussam al-Roumi submitted his resignation over the issue.